Speaking At Defend 2023

What’s going on in January? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For all interested, I will be speaking at Defend 2023 this year. Those interested in signing up for the event can find out how to here. We have a number of well-known speakers coming like Gary Habermas, Tim McGrew, Frank Turek, Paul Copan, Craig Hazen, Sam Allberry, Mike Strauss, and many others. I will be speaking at a breakout session at 2 PM on Thursday.

When Bob Stewart asked me if I spoke what I would speak on, he wanted me to send him a list of three topics I could do. I thought that everyone and their mother already speaks on a lot of the big topics. Honestly, if someone had to choose between hearing me on the resurrection or Gary Habermas, where will they go? I’d probably go hear Habermas instead even.

So what could I speak on that others aren’t speaking on but I think could be relevant to the people there? I had three topics. I had considered speaking on Autism and Christianity. I also was willing to speak on divorce and Christianity. My main interest though had a lot to do with what I had been reading a bit about and that was video games and Christianity.

That’s the topic then that I was asked to speak on. I had recently heard on Audible a book about the history of Nintendo and Super Mario in particular. I also had listened to The Gaming Mind and had read Grand Theft Childhood about how there is no real link between video games and violence. I am also reading Matthew Millsap’s dissertation on video games and theology. I found this kind of reading fascinating. I also noticed that there was a hysteria often whenever a new medium came out. I wanted to know how to better avoid that.

It wasn’t long after I shared the news on Facebook that people were immediately wanting to engage with me and discuss this. I find this exciting not just on an intellectual level, but on a personal level. Why have I gravitated towards games all my life and why is it that that played a role I think in my getting into Christian apologetics? A resonating quote with me after all is Peter Kreeft’s of “Apologetics is the closest you come to saving the world.”

When it came time to move to New Orleans, my DivorceCare leader and his wife came over to talk to my parents about their concerns and my leader said it well. “He has been playing games all his life and now he wants to go out and live those games. He really wants to be out there in the battle.” I have told people that in recovering from divorce, my slogan has been to play to win. I don’t want to spend my one life in defeat and a victim because of how she treated me.

Too often, those of us who are gamers are often dismissed. I did recently skim through the Gaming Alone post on The Gospel Coalition. I did notice the story about a seminary professor who wanted to start a gaming club when told that every domain in the world is meant to belong to God and when the call came out, he saw several students he didn’t know were there and he thought he knew everyone. He wondered if it was because these students tend to isolate themselves with games.

To an extent, we do, but I also wonder if it could be gaming is more friendly to introverts. When I go to a party, I am often miserable. I go to every event I can on campus because a friend told me if I want to meet women and get a wife, that is the thing to do. However, I am often bored intensely at them as it is difficult to talk to people and initiate conversation. Now get me to my D&D group that plays here on the campus and I have no problem with interaction with them. Most of my great friendships I have had in life have started with games.

I might blog more on this topic after Christmas, or I might wait until after the conference. I hope you will come and if you do, even if you don’t come to my session, if we know each other through a medium like Facebook, I would be thrilled to get to meet you. There’s always something exciting with putting a face to the name.

Please come to Defend 2023 this year and let me know if you signed up!

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

Government Won’t Change The Culture

How do Christians win a culture war? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Imagine the picture in the society. Committed Christians are a small minority in the population. Most people are involved in movements that are often highly religious, but are not Christian, and don’t care about traditional Christian values. Christians are seen as crazy because of the opinions that they hold on their doctrine and their practice. The government is actively working to silence thoughts that are critical of them. Immorality is at a high and there are numerous cases of sexual immorality all taking place.

Yes. Yes. This is the state of America today.

America? I was talking about the Roman Empire in the time when Christians first came about.

However, there are a number of parallels to our Christian society today. We could say there are a number of parallels to any Christian society anywhere. There are parallels to Christians in China. There are parallels to Christians in Muslim nations.

Let’s look at the first Christians. Now it is true that eventually the government did become Christian, but until then, what did the Christians do? Did they sit on their hands depressed and give up because the overarching government presence wasn’t going their way normally? No. Now this is not to say that the Christians did not appeal to the Roman government at times and stand up for themselves. There is no wrong in that.

Actually, Justin Martyr did just that writing letters to the emperor explaining Christianity. There are at times you read the letters and think with the way Justin talks to the emperor that he is being either incredibly brave or incredibly foolhardy. Still, he was making a case for the Christians.

Ah. But the Roman Empire didn’t have mass social media to deal with either!

And they also didn’t have it to use. Can you imagine what Paul would be doing today with podcasting, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and everything else? No doubt, he would be banned in a lot of places, but he would still be producing material. A Christian in Rome could not immediately communicate with one in Egypt. All travel would be long and arduous. As much as internet and the media can be a hindrance, use them properly and they will be gifts.

Still, as we look at what happened to change the society, it wasn’t a top-down approach. We in America often seem to base our hopes on how the elections go. Now I am not at all saying elections are unimportant. By all means, vote for the best leaders that you can, but if you do not win those elections, it does not mean all is lost.

You know who are really making a difference in our culture right now?

Parents. Parents going out and complaining to their school board about what is going on in the classroom. These people are taking the stand. We live in a country where we have a document of some importance that says “We the people.” It does not say “They the government.” We The People have the power.

Of course, I am not advocating violence at all, which I sadly have to say or else someone is going to say I want that, but I am advocating that we stand up for ourselves. Run for school board. Run for office. Organize together.

When Duck Dynasty was removed from A&E and then from Cracker Barrel, Christians united. They formed a Facebook page, got unified, and cancelled their services with these companies until they relented. When leftists went after Chick-Fil-A, we had Chick-Fil-A Day and sent their sales soaring for that one day. We showed what we could do with our people and what did we do with these great results?

Nothing. Not a thing.

The homosexual and transgender community are a far far far lesser percentage than Christians are and yet they get more and more of what they want. Why? They speak up. They protest. They make noise. They use the media well. They know how to interact with the culture.

We don’t. If anything, we think by not speaking up and not being judgmental, we are being meek, like Jesus. Jesus was meek, but not the way we think of it. Meek people the way we often think of them are not worth being crucified. Jesus was enough of a counter-cultural force that they had to give Him the ultimate death penalty to silence Him.

Learn to say no. Learn to be unified. Don’t like what’s going on? If you’re a Christian parent, meet with several other Christian parents. Use social media and meet across the nation. Show up at your school board and let them know you’re angry. Write to your senators, congressmen, etc. Let them know where you stand. Honestly, we could learn a few things from the LGBTQ+ community.

Do you want to boycott a company? That’s absolutely useless unless it is unified, like it was with the push to get Duck Dynasty back. Form groups like Facebook pages and get millions joined in and protesting. Get recognized. Let people know you’re out there and you refuse to be a pushover.

Then take your Christianity seriously. The early Christians did. When a plague came, most everyone else fled. The Christians stayed behind and cared for the sick, unknowingly building up an immunity for themselves in the process. One of the most radical things you can do is authentically live Christianity.

Be someone of upright and pure character. Shun pornography and speak out against that industry and live a chaste and holy life sexually. Don’t be someone greedy and give generously. Care for those around you who can’t care for themselves. It’s a shame Christians are more often known for what we stand against, rampant immorality, than who we stand for, Jesus Christ.

And yes, that means study Christianity and take it seriously. Really learn about what you believe and why. Christianity can’t just be a hobby, but it has to be something you take seriously.

Christians overcame in the Roman Empire and that lasted for a long time.

History can repeat itself.

Save the culture. Be Jesus to it.

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

I Was Not Assigned

What is at stake with our words? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last week, there was an announcement made at the chapel service here at NOBTS about free flu shots being given out for students. All we had to do was go to the student center and there would be some nurses there ready to give us our shots. Being one without health insurance now (Financial realities of being a seminary student), I decided to go and get one.

Now this was a Christian hospital organization that was giving out the shots and so they had to ask me several questions, which I understand. I get the legal requirements. I don’t blame them and I realize the sad reality of what many businesses are going through, but as an individual, I did take a firm stand.

So in the middle of the usual questions that I expect, I get the one of “What is your gender identity?” I consider this to really be a nonsense question. Identity has no purpose here. How I feel about myself does not affect what I am at all. I can feel like I’m a cat and it’s not going to change I’m a human. For a more realistic example, as one going through a divorce, I can feel numerous negative things many times. Those things are not true. Many Christians can struggle with feeling God doesn’t love them. Doesn’t make it true. The reason many people commit suicide is often connected with a negative feeling about them or their future that just isn’t true.

I am a man. That is it. I can take a look at my body and the way that I came out and realize that yes, I am a man.

My next question I was asked was “Were you assigned that at birth?”

At this I think my eyes glare, not in anger at the nurses. They have to do their job. It’s in anger that this question is on here. I gave a direct answer. “No. I was born a man.” I realize we could say I was born a boy who grew into a man, but the sex that I was born as was not something that was just decided. It was known when I was born.

I also realize some people can bring up people who are intersex, but intersex and transgender are two very different things. One is a very physical condition and we have never sought to change our laws and society based on this condition. The other, transgenderism, is a psychological delusion and we are changing our society and laws to play along and real people are being the victims.

Friends. This is a hill we cannot budge any on. This is about a battle for reality itself. I consider the far-left movement in our society to be in a war against reality and trying to eliminate any idea of male and female. It’s as if we are being pushed into a political monism.

The biggest aspect of this battle to watch is our words. I will use longer and clunkier terminology to avoid granting any grounds to the other side. I will not speak of a “same-sex marriage.” A marriage by definition is the unity of a man and a woman. No. Something like polygamy doesn’t change this, though it is wrong, as it is just one man with several women, but the man-woman aspect is there. The same would be for one woman with many men.

When you say “same-sex marriage” you are speaking of a contradiction. You are speaking of a man-woman unit that is not man-woman. If we also make the definition of marriage fluid, we can make it to mean anything and then it means nothing. Why limit it to two people? Why make it consensual? Why make it lifelong? The word marriage has to mean something specific.

I prefer to not even speak of a homosexual anymore. It makes homosexual more often an aspect of the person’s identity and surely that won’t change. It becomes something innate. I will easily instead speak of a person with same-sex attraction. What is central here is that this is a person.

We must absolutely watch people who want to control our words and tell us there are things we cannot say. We have seen part of this when any monitoring is done of questions about vaccines or the 2020 election. Even if you think both of those are crazy conspiracy theories, it would be better to have them talked about and the ideas discussed. Shutting down discussion on any topic convinces more often people who think there is a cover-up.

Keep in mind that in 1984, the goal of the editing of the language was not to come up with new words. It was to eliminate as many words as possible. Control the words people say and you can control the ideas that they are allowed to think about.

The language war is essential.

No. I was not assigned male at birth. I was born that way. I could jack up my body with as many hormones as doctors say and mutilate it with surgical procedures, and I will look like I am playing a part, but it won’t change reality. Barring the return of Jesus Christ, I will die a male. Nothing will change that.

There is too much at stake. Whenever you encounter language that is meant to shape what you think, do not give an inch to it. If you have to use long and clunkier phrases, that’s fine. I would rather do that and be minorly inconvenienced than give in to fake reality and be majorly inconvenienced.

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

 

Book Plunge: Saturday Morning Mind Control

What do I think of Phil Phillips’s book published by Thomas Nelson? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have been doing some studying lately in the concept of Christian paranoia over how most every new invention that comes along is something that is going to destroy our children for the next generation. The problem is this happens so many times. It is my desire to find common themes and what can be done when new mediums come up. After all, we don’t want to just follow culture everywhere and jump on every bandwagon, but at the same time we want to be wise and discerning, including with entertainment content.

Phil Phillips writes from a perspective of a therapist in dealing with the issue of TV which he often calls The Box. Certainly, Phillips’s desire is noble and can be applauded. Watch what your children are watching and be aware of it. Try to understand what is going on. He doesn’t say to throw out TV altogether, but he does encourage a vested interest in what your children are doing.

This is something I wholeheartedly agree with. While my Dad and I watch TV together often, including shows like Smallville and the Flash, and we as a family watched Monk and House and other shows like that, but when it came to games, I have often been the lone gamer in my house. Parents. If you have children who are gamers, they would like to see you take an interest in that just as much as you take an interest in your children who play sports.

On p. 54, he does say one main reason that some kids don’t become aggressive in light of what is seen on TV is because of parents. This is the most important insight in the book. It deserves to be recognized by all. If you are raising your children well and teaching them good and evil and giving them a biblical worldview especially, they are far better equipped. I have played games all my life and I am not at all an aggressive person.

However, Phillips does indeed engage in paranoia and many of the rules seem arbitrary. For instance, does a show have more than three weapons on it? If this was followed, you could not watch The LionThe Witch, and the Wardrobe.

I also wondered throughout at times how you could explain the Bible in this position. The Bible has a lot of violence in it and yes, a lot of sexual content. We don’t grant the Bible an exception just because it’s the Bible. If we do that, we are engaging in double-standards.

Phillips does have a bibliography in the back, but the problem is many times in the book, he does not cite sources and does not tell where something is specifically found. Sometimes he will say something like “A boy said X.’ What boy is this? How can I speak to him?

He also sometimes gets his material wrong. For example, he says about Ninja Turtles and this when discussing the cartoon that Splinter was a rat and then became a humanoid rat, but fans of the show know that in the cartoon, Splinter was a human first. In the movie, he was a rat first. (82) He also says Smurfette was a male smurf who became female, but in reality, Smurfette had been created by Gargamel in the show. This is the danger of that if you get something basic wrong, why should I trust you on the others?

He is also vague on what is meant by aggression. It is never defined and sometimes it looks like it is always to be avoided. Sometimes aggression is a good thing. We need to be aggressive, but for Phillips, it looks like there is never a good time for aggression.

The same problem occurs with violence. Phillips is the kind of person who will have a problem with something like Looney Tunes and is convinced that too often children will believe everything on the box is real. Of course, this is where parents need to monitor and discuss, but eventually, children do grow up and realize these things aren’t real and just enjoy them as fantasy.

In looking at the Super Mario Brothers Super Show, which I know very well, he speaks about a three-headed snake that says “Stomp ’em, Tromp ’em, Crush ’em” and of characters being spoken of as belch brains and these are not the kinds of values we want our children to emulate. Good thing that it’s the VILLAINS who do this on the show. Would Phillips really want a show where villains show the behaviors we want to be emulated in society? (p.81)

He gets more bizarre about this show when he starts talking about occultism in cartoons and says that even Mario has a dance, which he connects dancing with the occult. You can do the Mario. You can think the Mario show is the dumbest show ever but you can look at the dance at the end easily and tell that Lou Albano is not leading children into occult practices with a dance.

He uses She-Ra as an example of how She-Ra even cries for an enemy because he was given life and wasted it. When he dies, no one would care. Honestly, this reads as if Phillips is condemning this when I find this admirable. We as Christians should all be sad for those who are given the gift of life and waste it. (120)

Phillips lists several shows he says have problematic and occult themes in them, many of which are just incredibly odd to see. My Favorite Martian should be avoided since it involves UFOs. G.I. Joe should be avoided because it’s too violent.  Other shows to be avoided for various reasons are The MunstersStar Trek, Lost In Space, Dr. Who, Smurfs, Gummy Bears, My Little Pony, Scooby-Doo, and The Archie Comedy Hour. (125-127)

There is a little said on video games, and much of it convinces me that Phillips doesn’t understand video games well. Still, that is minor so I will save that for other works. The emphasis here is still on cartoons.

In conclusion, Phillips means well, but I think his approach will lead to only helicopter parenting instead of teaching children wise discernment skills so they can make decisions apart from their parents that will be for their true good. The goal of a parent is to work themselves out of a job. This doesn’t mean that they play no role in the lives of their children as I can still talk to my parents regularly and go to them for advice, but I certainly don’t need them to make decisions for me anymore, as it should be.

Christians. Avoid paranoia. The problem is not the medium. The problem is discernment.

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)

The Failure of Bros

Is this due to “homophobia”? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve seen on YouTube today a lot of talk about the failure of a movie called Bros. If you haven’t heard of this movie, it’s supposed to be a romantic comedy, but the lovers in this are a pair of men. This was the first of its kind and its fail was tremendous.

Billy Eichner, who is behind the movie, has sadly taken the lower path in handling this. Instead of looking at himself and looking at his movie and seeing why it is no one went to see it, he is instead blaming the audience. Why did it fail? It is because YOU must be a homophobe.

However, if that is the case, then even assuming everyone who saw the movie in America is gay, a lot of them even didn’t see it, so does that mean someone in the homosexual community is a homophobe? Eichner has also been on Twitter sending out regular tweets about this. Little tip here. If you want your audience to listen to you, it’s probably not a good idea to call them homophobes and anything else at the same time.

Well here are a lot of reasons most people didn’t go see this movie.

First, romcoms are normally meant for women. For the most part, men do not go to see romcoms unless their girlfriends or wives insist on it. Men would rather see an action flick of some kind. They want to see some fights, car chases, shootings, and something getting blown up. If they do go see a romcom, they want to at least see a beautiful woman in that movie.

A gay romcom has neither. No straight guy I know of wants to see two dudes getting it on together. Add in there are supposedly multiple orgies in this and we’re even less interested.

While men will go see action flicks wanting to be the man in the films, women go see romcoms because for the most part, they want to be romanced. They like the love story and it’s their kind of fairy tale. They are not interested in seeing two dudes either.

If you’re wanting men to go see your film, don’t make it a romcom.

Second, people don’t want to see something if they think they’re being preached to. Most people do not go to church for entertainment value and there’s a reason we’ve called a long message we don’t want to hear a sermon. There’s a reason we refer to a negative onslaught of what we ought to do as preaching. When people see a system they don’t want regularly put in their face, they lose interest. It’s the whole “Go woke, go broke.”

Consider how it is in superhero comics. Most people I know wouldn’t really care too much if someone wanted to make a gay superhero. What they don’t want is to take a traditional superhero who has never shown any inkling of being gay and then turning them gay to appeal to diversity. People go to comics for entertainment. They don’t go for politics.

Third, yes, a lot of people don’t agree with homosexuality, including myself, but it doesn’t do anything to call us all homophobes any more than calling non-Christians Christophobes is going to get them to repent or seriously examine Christianity. Instead of having any debate on the topic, instead, it is easier to just shout an insult at someone. It doesn’t help your side any.

That means when we go see a movie, we don’t want to see an orgy with a bunch of guys in it. That might appeal to the homosexual community, but not to heterosexual community. We also don’t care for a movie that tells us that we had a good run. You don’t tell us our time is done and then respond negatively when we choose to not show interest in you.

Ultimately, if people don’t like your work, no matter how passionate you are about it, you need to look to yourself. You will never have something that pleases everyone, but I have to do the same thing here. If people aren’t interacting with my content or taking it seriously, I have to look at myself mostly. Now there’s no harm in looking at my audience and asking what they want. I wrote about divorce for quite awhile, for instance, because I saw views were up on my blog when I did that. Give the people what they want.

If someone isn’t interested in my content, I can ask what I can do to make it interesting to them. I could look at my writing style or website presentation or anything else. The first place to start if someone doesn’t like my work is always with me. It is not with the audience.

So Billy, take a look at yourself. How passionate you are about the work doesn’t matter a bit. I can be super-passionate about selling overcoats, but it won’t work if I’m talking to people in the Middle East most likely. I can be super passionate about pork products, but it won’t work with Muslims or Orthodox Jews. Passion doesn’t equal success. Having a good product or service and then knowing your audience well and what they want does.

We just don’t want Bros. Time to accept that and move on.

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

Gamers Matter

Are we too dismissive of gamers? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In the past, gamers were people who were very solitary. To an extent, many of us still are, but gaming is mainstream. How many people are playing Wordle every day? Words With Friends? Farmville? Raid Shadow Legends? Note that none of those games I have mentioned are console games.

Plenty of people are interested in professional sports. What are those? For the most part, games. We talk about football, baseball, and basketball games. Millions of Americans follow their teams religiously and we have talk shows discussing sports and sports makes the nightly news.

So why bring this up?

Christian apologist Doug Groothuis recently had on his Facebook a statement about the New York Times Book Review reviewing a video game. I take it this was meant to be something lamentable, but I was the first to respond with a simple question.

Which game?

I wasn’t the only one. Plenty of other people asked as well. The question was never answered by Groothuis, but the answer was found by someone. It’s a game called The Stanley Parable.

I have never played this one. I wouldn’t mind it, but I just haven’t. However, I have seen videos talking about it and it looks to be built around a guy who has a regular cubicle job and starts exploring his office for whatever reason with a voice narrating all that is happening.

In the past, video games were pretty straightforward. Get to the castle, drop Bowser in the pit, rescue the princess. Go in the dungeons and gather the pieces of the Triforce and defeat Ganon and rescue the princess. (Always princesses for some reason.) Get the frog across the street safely. Eat all the dots in the area without being hit by a ghost.

Those games are still around today and still classics, but games are much more in-depth now.

Role-playing games are some of the best at this. I view Final Fantasy IV as a tale of resurrection and redemption. You can look at FF VI as a consequence of Nihilism. I have a friend who swears that Nier:Automata is a look at Shintoism. The Kingdom Hearts games are based on Disney movies, but you would need a PhD in philosophy to understand them and even then I doubt you could do it.

Games are also much more communal now. I regularly play Final Fantasy XIV which is a multi-man online role-playing game. (Those are knowns as MMORPGs) I am online playing with several people and buying and exchanging items with them as well. Pokemon Go is a smartphone game that largely has a communal aspect of working with other players.

Video games are also art. Just take a look at the music and cinematic scenes in many of these games. It’s art. It’s a craft.

So how many people play games? The most recent article I could find was this one. A lot of those people in America are likely Christians, but a lot of them aren’t. What does that mean? That’s a market to reach, not to be dismissed.

If you start talking about a lot of games, you can find some rich intellectual discussion there. There is a series of books on pop culture and philosophy with philosophers writing a chapter in a book called X and philosophy with X being the pop culture icon. How many are related to gaming?

Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophy.

Pokemon and Philosophy. (Also a great gift suggestion for the blogging apologist gamer in your life.)

Dark Souls and Philosophy.

Bioshock and Philosophy.

The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy (Another great gift idea)

Final Fantasy and Philosophy. (Owned and Read)

There could be others and there will be more coming. Gamers are asking deep questions many times. We’re not people wanting to just goof off and waste our time. One of the best things you can do with a gamer is just talk with them about their games and ask them why they like the games that they like and why they play them.

Some might think we have hit a low point in culture to see a video game reviewed. I disagree. I think it’s showing more aspects of the culture interacting together.

Gamers matter. Most of us nowadays are gamers. Some of us were part of the original group who were gamers when gaming wasn’t cool. Here’s something else that all gamers have in common. They all need the gospel.

Also, one good way to do this is to have Christians get in the field and start making good games. Five Nights At Freddy’s was made by a Christian. Usually, Christian movies, TV shows, and video games are great at reaching their target audience, other Christians. One exception to this was the movie The Case for Christ.  We don’t need to just make games. We need to make games people will want to play and enjoy playing and by the way, most games are not “In your face” with their worldview. Christians media doesn’t need to be either.

Again, gamers matter. Let’s do what we can to reach them.

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

 

Book Plunge: Cynical Theories

What do I think of James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose’s book published by Pitchstone? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Woke is a word that has shown up regularly in the past few years. Now we regularly hear about social justice warriors and of course, constant cries of racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and fat phobia. Our world has become more divided than ever as everyone is assumed to be a closet racist and if you deny that, well, you’re a bigot and that just demonstrates what a racist you are.

I was eager to get this book to see what Lindsay and Pluckrose had to say about the topic. They do bring a lot of excellent academic work here, but the problem is they also seem to be fighting battles on two fronts. Their main emphasis is on the Woke and how that hurts scholarship and academia, but there’s a dose of mild scientism as well as any chance to take a jab at religious people.

That’s ultimately unhelpful for their work. After all, if they want to reach Americans and a large number of Americans are still religious, this will turn a lot of them off, which would be a shame. I kept seeing my position as a religious believer being misrepresented. I am able to see past that, but how many people out there will not?

The scientism is also a problem as too many times, the impression comes across that science is the only way to know truth. Science is a great way of knowing some truth, but not all truth. There are plenty of things we all believe that do not come through science. While I am an empiricist, I hold that while all scientific knowledge is empirical, not all empirical knowledge is scientific.

Another problem is the way that they talk about progress and liberalism. Much of what they call liberalism looks nothing like liberals I see today. I also definitely disagree with them on the approach to the LGBTQ+ community. I am not opposed to progress, but too often we get to a place and say “This is progress” when in many cases, I can see it as regression.

However, time should be spent on the positives. One of the biggest walkaways you should get from this book is that for the Woke, disagreement is not allowed. Yes. You are allowed to ask questions and you should ask to understand, but not to challenge. Theory, their name for anything like Critical Race Theory or any idea that goes with a political identity, cannot be questioned.

This is no way to do academia. Questions and challenges should always be welcome, even if a theory has stood the test of time for hundreds of years. Questioning allows us to grow and shows cracks where a belief needs to be examined. Perhaps in some cases, it could show the whole paradigm is flawed and we have to move to a new paradigm.

Also, there are health consequences in many cases. Consider the idea that being fat is not a risk to one’s health. Yes. This is being taught and some people can even find doctors that won’t treat obesity like a problem. As I write this, MonkeyPox is something big and yet many of us are noticing that while Covid was around, people were told they had to shut down gathering places, including churches, but no one is saying that about bathhouses. Everyone is just being told “Act responsibly.” Would that we had all been told that during Covid.

I can also remember that when 9/11 happened, one of the first matters of importance to get out there was that this did not represent true Islam. After all, we had to deal with Islamophobia. We have become a culture that wants to protect peoples’ feelings more than the people themselves.

So this is a book with a lot of important material, but keep in mind the caveats. Take the wheat and throw away the chaff. Get the good and embrace it and use it. We are in a real battle with Woke.

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

What Makes A Movie Bad?

Are our ideas way too simple? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Recently, I bought a book on Kindle by Roger Ebert called Your Movie Sucks. In it, he goes through a number of movies he thinks are really bad. I’m on the D section right now, as in alphabetical and not gradewise, and some of these movies I have seen and I disagree with. Some I haven’t seen, but I have heard enough to agree. (Battlefield Earth anyone?)

It’s really got me thinking about what makes a movie good or bad. Sometimes, we can be tempted to just look at the questionable content we could find in a movie. Consider that if you look at Ebert’s list of the best movies where he picks one for each year, one year has an R-rated film.

This film has listed as severe on IMDB, sex and nudity, as plenty of times you will see full frontal nudity. It stays on screen for a long time. There is no hiding. This movie is full of women who are naked.

The same applies for violence and gore. The movie is loaded with it. Again, this is not hidden. It is drawn out and you see it all.

And yes, the same applies to frightening and intense scenes. This movie is full of them. If you want to be comforted, you don’t see this movie.

And many Christians are saying “I would never watch something that had all of that.”

Actually, you would. Odds are you have seen it. Not only have you seen it, you think it’s an awesome movie and everyone should watch it.

This movie is Schindler’s List.

Schindler’s List contains all of this, but yet we know it’s a great movie because we understand the purpose of all of this. Why have nude women? Because that’s what happened in the holocaust when millions of Jews died. Why have violence and gore? Because the holocaust wasn’t pretty. The same applies to frightening and intense scenes. This movie should not leave you comforted or feeling good.

I have definitely seen this movie and I definitely think you should as well.

So if you go and look at just things like sex and nudity, violence and gore, frightening and intense scenes, and just go from that, you will miss out on this movie. There’s so much more to a movie than this. For one thing, let’s consider the lesson of a movie that it is trying to teach.

Christian apologist Greg Koukl has talked about Pleasantville before. This one is PG-13 so many might think it’s okay. However, he points out the lesson is that the society is improved when we break free of repression represented by 1950’s suburbia. There’s no right way to live and we need to live free lives, including full sexual expression.

There’s also worldview for Christians to consider. I have many friends who are big into science fiction and really like Star Wars and Star Trek. They are devout Christians who can discern fantasy from reality, and I am sure they would also say they do not embrace the worldview of these movies. Star Wars is greatly influenced by Eastern thought and Roddenberry of Star Trek was heavily into humanism.

For Christians, this means we need to be better at engaging the media. We need to evaluate movies not by how many times we have to use a bleep button or how many times we see a flash of skin. I am not saying these factors don’t matter and certainly if you struggle with lust or can’t take the sight of blood, there are some movies you shouldn’t see, but we need to see movies and all media as teaching tools as they all are.

When you create some piece of media, you are often trying to teach something as well. You are trying to share a piece of how you see the world. Do this right and you can have a great impact for generations. Lewis and Tolkien have had their books done into movies today even though the authors died decades ago.

Can you think of any Christian writers who are doing the same today?

Note when you watch the media presented by others, they don’t come right out and blast what their worldview is because the audience is too stupid to figure it out. You know who does that? Christians do that. When we make movies, they are usually awful. The only people who really go see Christian movies are for the most part, Christians. One great exception to this is actually The Case for Christ. Even on Rotten Tomatoes the film as of this writing has an audience score of 79% and the Tomatometer is at 61%.

It’s not enough for us to make movies that we like. We have to make movies that other people would like. How many of you would really like to take your non-Christian friends to see some Christian movies that you see? If all we’re doing is preaching to the choir, we’re not reaching anyone.

That means we have to make good material.

Considering television, recently I finished going through The Good Place on Netflix. I found this to be a highly intriguing show and no, I’m not going to tell you much about it aside from the show revolves entirely around moral philosophy. Yes. That can be in a show and it can be a good show. You can present a show that touches deep topics.

No. I’m not going to claim to know entirely what makes a movie bad or what makes a movie good, but reading Ebert’s book, I am thinking we need to make better movies. In the past, you had classics like Ben Hur and the Ten Commandments. We don’t have those today.

I also would like to see this move on to Christian music that secular people would like. Also, good Christian video games. Five Nights At Freddy’s, I understand, is made by a Christian. The Castlevania games got their name because of what a Christian said as the original name was something akin to Dracula Satanic Castle.

Also, these movies and games and anything else don’t have to be delusional and present the world as pretty and nice. We can show real evil in them because there is real evil in the world. We can show real loss because there is real loss in the world. (How many of us 25 years later can still deeply remember the death of Aerith in Final Fantasy VII?) We should be the ones showing real heroes, however. It has been said that whenever you have a hero and a villain, somewhere you have the gospel.

So I don’t close this post with any clear answers. I just know that if I see a Christian movie in this book, I’m not going to be surprised. What I would love to see is a secularist make a list of top movies to see and have Christian movies regularly be up there.

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

 

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