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)

 

Thoughts On Love On The Spectrum

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

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This is about the American version of the show. In it, we meet six people who are on the spectrum and all are trying to find love. A benefit I want to point out right off on this show is that it is family-friendly. I do not remember seeing any sex or nudity at all, nor do I think it is even mentioned.

There are three men and three women on the show and all have various degrees of being on the spectrum with how much they can function, although it looks like a lot of them do have people who work with them whether they be professionals or family members. You also meet specialists like Jennifer Cook who advises the people wanting to find love. The show shows these people going out and trying to get dates and going on dates.

I don’t know how much of this was genuinely shot accurately or was a recreation somehow. It’s hard to picture a speed dating event with someone coming to the table to speak to the autistic person and being told “Pay no attention to the cameras!” There were some moments I also hoped were not being filmed genuinely. It’s bad enough for a guy when he gets dumped be it on the phone or in person. Imagine that instead being put in a series where everyone can see it happen.

As someone on the spectrum myself, I found the series hopeful in many ways. I consider myself to be very high-functioning. After all, as I write this, I am living on my own in a seminary 10 hours away from my parents in a state that doesn’t even border them and I am making it. (Patreon below if you want to help me keep making it.) The other great goal I have personally besides my education at this point is finding another woman. I am the one who has been married and I definitely want to find someone again who wants to be treasured.

The people are also of various ages as well. I don’t know if any of them were Christian and if so, they didn’t state it explicitly. That would be nice, but people finding love are people finding love regardless. All of them are out there wanting to meet someone special.

Something you learn as well watching this if you are an outsider to the spectrum is that on the spectrum, we are vastly different, but we are also like everyone else. We want to be loved and treasured and we want someone to spend time with. It might surprise some people when I am usually a loner for the most part to know I want that as well. I definitely do. There is something I miss about the companionship that comes with having a wife.

If you are on the spectrum, you need to watch this series. If you know someone who is on the spectrum, you need to watch this series. If you are dating someone who is on the spectrum, I also encourage watching this series. It’s really great to see that people are studying more and more about a real condition and how we can interact together.

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)

 

Book Plunge: Back to the Batcave

What do I think of Adam West’s book published by Berkley Trade? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I remember my first encounter with the Adam West Batman series. I don’t remember how old I was, but I remember I was a young boy and I came downstairs and saw it on the TV. I couldn’t tell you the episode, except the villain was the Joker.

There are different things that draw me to a series. Honestly, the first that drew me in to this one was the appearance of Robin. I liked the character of Robin because like me, he was a youth as well and yet here he was out there fighting crime and being a hero in Gotham City.

Naturally, something I came to love about the series also was the fight scenes. It’s incredible that at the time ABC executives were skeptical about putting in a bunch of POW! BAM! ZLOCK! OUCH! over and over again, but yet, this is one of the main things that stands out about the series today.

The book is about the Batman series, but it is also about Adam West and his life and how he came to get the Batman role and the impact it had on him. One striking feature is that while on the show Batman is a picture of morality in every area, Adam West really wasn’t always as noble. I don’t say this to shame him. He’d probably agree. He had multiple marriages and neglected his first two wives.

Learning about the making of the show was quite revealing. The main producer behind it, William Dozier, often wanted to try new and innovative techniques. This is why when Season 2 started you had new villains that were virtually unheard of showing up like the Archer or Ma Parker. West had the idea of wanting to go to the comics and bring out villains that hadn’t been on the show yet, such as Two-Face. (And it was a surprise to me to learn Two-Face did go back that far. I hadn’t heard of him until the animated series.)

This can also relate to apologetics. Too often, to win people to the church, especially youth, we think we have to do huge special events and get their attention that way. Why not just use what we already have? If we know of anything that wins families to a church, it’s good and solid preaching (No. Music is important, but the main draw is good preaching.) Furthermore, if the father comes to church, he is more likely to get the rest of the family to follow him.

West talks about the time when Batman came to an end and how for awhile, it was hard for him to get any roles whatsoever because he was so tied to Batman. There was even some hatred on his part of Batman. Eventually, he did work his way through that and today you can see him on a number of series. There are times he plays either himself or Batman on these series. Lately, I have been watching a clip from The Big Bang Theory of when he came on and is talking about how all the different Batmans rate and why he should be #1 on the list.

The Batman series came out over 50 years ago and despite the changes in our time, it still remains a classic to this day. I watch it with my Dad as I’m living with my parents since the divorce for the time being, and we make fun of how campy the show is (I like to point out how everything is labeled), but at the end of the day, it’s just a fun show to watch. As I told my pastor about it Sunday, who sadly didn’t know about it, it’s a clean show also the whole family can watch together, including the children.

Nothing against the movies that have come out since then, though I have not seen the latest one, but for the best time, I still go and watch the original series. Of course, the other great one is the animated series, but I don’t have access to that now. Maybe some day.

This has been more of a read for fun review. Of course, there is some relation to apologetics in here. Would Batman have lasted longer had they stuck to the source material, the comics? Perhaps. Maybe we should stick to our source material the most, the Scriptures, instead of trying to be new and innovative to the point that we neglect the source.

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

On Celebrity Deaths

What do we do when a celebrity dies? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A little over a week ago, the world received a shock. I remember I was at work that day and I had just randomly started thinking about Betty White’s 100th birthday coming up. In the break room in the past few days before that, I had seen on what I think was Entertainment Tonight that plans were underway for her birthday party. Everyone was ready. It was coming. Let’s celebrate!

Except we didn’t. Before the new year on December 31st, Betty White died.

Then on Sunday night, I received a message from friends about the death of Bob Saget. If your family was like mine at one time, watching America’s Funniest Home Videos was a staple in the household. Bob Saget hosted that and although he was not a bit funny, we did enjoy the videos. I know he was on Full House, but I never watched that so I can’t comment.

When these people die, we mourn and it’s not because we’re normally close to them, but more I think for the nostalgia. For Betty White’s performances, I mainly watched The Mary Tyler Moore Show and I remember her from her husband being the host of Password. I never watched The Golden Girls. I have already said where I remember Bob Saget from.

I suppose you could say it’s like the past dying in some ways. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie Patch Adams, but I have not seen it once since Williams’s suicide. I suppose it’s like my own parents talking back about their past experiences and mentioning someone and saying “They’re dead now.”

Yet there are some matters that need to be said.

First off, most of these celebrities probably had plans, which is not bad, but they never got to pull them off. Saget was on a comedy tour. He had no idea his time was limited to that very night. It’s something to consider that one breath is all that separates you from eternity.

After I get done here, I will take a shower and after some time, I will go to work. I have no guarantee I will come home tonight. I don’t even have a guarantee I will get to work okay. I act like I will and I don’t think we should live in terror that we will die at any moment, but I do need to remember more often that every moment is a gift.

So let’s look at what happens next. What will happen to many of these celebrities? Will they enter into eternity with joy or will they enter it with shame? Will they love the presence of God or will they hate it? Right now, their choice is made and they are done. What would it profit them if they gained the adulation of the world and lost their souls? I’m not saying that happened for sure for either White or Saget. I can’t speak on that. I am saying it could have.

Hollywood is one of the most influential systems in the world today, and we Christians have to admit it’s full of depravity. So what are we doing about it? Do we write them off because they’re celebrities? We often treat them as gods and goddesses and our magazine racks are filled with stories about events in their lives to which I often want to say, “Who cares?” Why should anyone live vicariously through a celebrity? What difference does it make who so-and-so is dating? Don’t you have enough issues in your own life to work out?

However, these people have struggles like everyone else. They have questions and problems like everyone else. They also need Jesus like everyone else. Are we trying to influence Hollywood at all or are we just avoiding it? There is no reason Jesus Christ cannot redeem Hollywood. There is no reason He cannot use you to do it, except for one. You are unwilling to be used. That includes me as well.

When we get to Hollywood also and start making our movies, can we please also make good movies? Right now, for the most part, Christians make movies only other Christians want to see. What good would an evangelism method be that only reached other Christians and never those who don’t know Christ? One rare recent movie I understand was an exception to this was Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ.

Christian movies for the most part are universally bad and Christians go see them because they’re Christian and that’s what you do. Sadly, that’s often the reason we could give for going to church as well. What if we made them so well and they were so popular that non-Christian celebrities wanted to be in them?

There will be other celebrity deaths in 2022. Are we trying to reach these people that seem out of reach with the gospel? Do we consider that they are a breath away from eternity? Do we consider that we are?

God loves them as He loves us. Let’s show Jesus to them as we should.

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

 

Book Plunge: Veils of Distortion

What do I think of John Zada’s book published by Terra Incognita? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

John Zada is a journalist writing about how media distorts the news for all of us. Right now, my conservative readers are thinking, “Yep. We know we can’t trust the media. You tell them.” My liberal friends are probably thinking, “This is just going to be a cry of celebration for Trump and Fox News.”

Both of them are wrong.

There are statements in here both sides will not be happy with, which means it’s great reading for both sides. Instead, it’s a general warning about how the media functions today. In many ways, the media does control the culture and what they say does stick. This book is also recently published which means you can find news about Trump and about the Coronavirus.

Let’s start with the latter as an example of how news is shaped. Consider that the virus is called a “deadly virus.” Left out is that normally 98% of people who get the virus survive just fine. So why report it this way? Because deadly is a way that can make news. Also, we regularly report only the exceptional negative news. For a counterexample, you won’t turn on the news and hear “Millions of Americans get flu vaccine and nothing bad happens.” If however, some people die from it, which happens every year, that will make the news.

Part of the problem also is like most things journalists report on, they are not experts on the subject. Someone could be a journalist who reports on issues of national security all his life. However, he still will not have a job where he works directly in national security and so that will always be a blind spot for him.

News outlets also try to get news out there as fast as possible which means that they don’t have the time to fact check. In the past, they had to compete against only other journalists and news stations. Now who do they have to compete against? Everyone with a smartphone. How many of our news stories now are based on captured smartphone video?

Thus, the media rushes right out the gate without all the information and can often make snap judgments. Fact-checkers don’t always have the time to do proper fact-checking and can be just as unreliable as anyone else is. The best way for us to handle topics is to try to do our own fact-checking.

Sometimes, as a sad commentary, the media practically hopes for a disaster to take place. Zada even reports of a time where there was a standoff somewhere and someone in the newsroom actually said, “I wish some fighting would break out between these two so that we could have something to report.” After all, the same news doesn’t sell. If you have a story where a plane crashes, that will make the news. You will never turn on the news and hear, “Hundreds of planes flew across America today without a single crash.”

We must remember the media is driven by one thing ultimately. Money. They want ratings and that can lead to sloppiness as they try to get the best stuff out there as quickly as they can. The news will stay in the air for a bit and then when it no longer brings in the ratings, the media will go on to another story.

Also, whatever you think of Trump, he knows how to play the media well, and that is part of the reason he won in 2016. He knew what to do to get the media reporting on him which meant free coverage. The media had a love/hate relationship with him. They hated him politically, but they loved that he was a ratings grab which means in an ironic sense, they helped him become president with all the coverage.

What can we do?

For one thing, we need to inform ourselves. Watch the news from both sides and watch agencies that watch the media as well. You could even try investing in slow journalism. I have heard that Dan Bongino, for example, tries to wait 72 hours before taking a side on an issue that breaks out. Since he has a national radio show now, I don’t know if that can be done as easily, but whether you like him or not, I think that’s an admirable stance.

In my own field, I know that often a discovery is made in archaeology and Christians and atheists both rush out to share it thinking it will either confirm or disprove the Bible. I always say the same thing to them. Wait. Let the scholars look at the issue. Many people like to rush their stories to the media in this area instead of going through the scholarly review part. Always be wary of those.

Try also to read a story or hear it from the other perspective. If the situation was reversed, what would that mean? What data is being left out? We can hear how many people die from Coronavirus. How many people don’t?

I urge liberals and conservatives both to read this book.

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

Is Mega Man A Man?

Is the Blue Bomber really a Mega Man? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This is some stepping out I would like to do combining my love of gaming with theology and philosophy. Thus, I would appreciate any feedback. Is this something you would like to see more of? Even if you’re not a gamer, do you get something out of this?

My introduction to the Mega Man series actually began when a friend of the family gave me Mega Man 2. Like many people, this one is my favorite game in the series. The metal blade is one of the best weapons in the game and it’s got enough challenge without being way too easy.

For those who don’t know, the series Mega Man is set in the distant future where robots are common. Mega Man, the Blue Bomber as his nickname goes, is created by Dr. Light to counter the evil plans of Dr. Wily. Wily will regularly produce a number of robots, typically eight, who specialize in one area with one weapon and Mega Man has to beat them, claim their weapon, and then use that weapon against the others. After beating all of the robots, he goes after Wily himself.

Now with a title like Mega Man, you would think that man is what he is, and mega is what describes him, but is that really so? Is Mega Man a man or not? If he isn’t, what is he? If he is, then is he really the same as us? (Note I am using man in the generic to refer to all of humanity.)

Mega Man is described as a robot throughout the series, but when we think of robots in our world, they’re not really like Mega Man is. After all, Mega Man is deciding which robot he wants to fight when and choosing how to fight all the enemies throughout a level and having to make typical athletic feats like strong Mario style jumps. He can apparently experience what looks to be some degree of pain when he gets hit by an enemy in some way and is knocked back slightly.

The free will issue is a major one. Mega Man behaves like he makes his own decisions. Now we could be pedantic and say he doesn’t make his own decisions but simply does what the player tells him to do, but by this standard every character in a game that is the main character is a robot. That would be another blog in itself.

Mega Man is also shown to often have emotion, such as at the end of one of the games where he is stopped before he almost finishes off Dr. Wily himself in anger. In most every case, Mega Man beats Dr. Wily’s final robot whatever it may be and Wily begs for mercy and Mega Man takes him to prison. This time, Mega Man nearly went against that.

The end of Mega Man 2 is a curiosity to me as you see Mega Man walking away and going through each of the seasons. When the scene ends, you see Mega Man’s helmet just lying on the ground. I always wondered if he somehow became a human or what. It’s never specified.

In the end, I do have to conclude that as much as he is like a human, Mega Man himself is still not really a man. Mega Man is still a robot who changes based on what tools he wishes to use and he lives in a world of robots. When he needs some work done, he still has to go to Dr. Light regularly. In Mega Man 11, he also gets the Double Gear system which changes his data to give enhanced abilities for a limited time to him. Also, whenever he dies, he pretty much explodes with parts of him flying everywhere.

A man is not programmed or mechanical inherently in anyway. I realize we can get parts put in us that are mechanical and I do know that there is talk of transhumanism coming in the future, but even then, we can question if we will cease to be men. We can’t beat our enemies and add parts of them to us really and when we have a problem to be fixed, it’s not inner gear or machinery normally, but rather physiology.

Now some of you might be wondering why as a Christian I am not mentioning the image of God in all of this. It is because I am seeking to go by general revelation alone at this point. You can know what a man is to a good extent without the use of Scripture. You can know that a robot is not a man and vice-versa.

Man also I hold has a soul, an immaterial aspect to him that gives him life. I think there are many good arguments for some kind of dualism and that NDEs have provided excellent evidence that there is some existence outside of the body. I do not see that being the case with Mega Man as he is simply apparently rebuilt and updated with machinery every time.

So Mega Man is someone who we can say is mega, but I don’t think we can call him a man technically. He’s still one of the best heroes that there is in gaming, but he is not a man. He is a robot.

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

Are we on the path to elimination? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My last blog post was about the culture wars. Someone in the comments on my Facebook pointed out that we should be concerned also about statistics about people not believing Christian doctrine even in the church. If anything, we should be more concerned. I heartily agree. If all we keep doing is responding to the world, then we are always going to be on the defensive.

It should be the opposite. Jesus said the gates of hell wouldn’t stand up against the church. Gates are defensive measures. If we were going to church accurately, we wouldn’t wear our Sunday best. We would wear battle gear and realize we are undergoing training for the mission of the Kingdom.

Many of us have seen the statistics such as people in the church who believe there are more ways to God than Jesus Christ, who question the deity of Christ, who believe in reincarnation, have no problem with sex outside of marriage, accept homosexual behavior, etc.

Is it any wonder that if this is what people within the church believe that we are losing the culture war? How can soldiers who don’t know basic training manage to handle conflict on the outside? How is it that we are losing this battle?

Part of it is that we unfortunately, took a stance of retreat. In the 19th century, you had higher criticism, the teaching of evolution, and situations like this that led to questioning of Scripture. Instead of engaging the culture, the church went into retreat. Soon, the church became a private sphere. The church dealt with the internal and the personal and the outside world, namely science, dealt with the external and the factual. Is it any wonder so many people, even Christians, believe there is a war between science and religion?

The church is always better off when it engages with the culture and faces challenges head on, but when the church withdraws from the academy, expect the academy to fall. Keep in mind, the Ivy League schools had been established for the good of Christianity. Now they are for the good of the hook-up culture. How far we have fallen!

Today, normally strong believers that we have in the church are not strong believers because of a deep study of theology or apologetics. It is because of a deep emotional commitment. How many of our churches are full of preachers who don’t have any higher education whatsoever?

Now some will counter and say “Well, the disciples of Jesus didn’t go to seminary did they?” Consider what the person is asking. The disciples of Jesus. What did that mean? They were His students. The apostles were constant students of Jesus Himself and I think all of us would happily change our seminary education to sit at the feet of the greatest rabbi ever like they did. Jesus personally taught and invested in these men.

As for Paul, who didn’t have that experience, who would question that he was greatly educated? He got invited to speak on Mars Hill, which is not a place where idiots went to. His epistles show someone who is extremely educated.

Also, ask many of the people in the church to explain the Trinity and likely, they will become Arians or Modalists. I have heard evangelists say the Trinity is like a man who is a husband, a father, and a son. Such a person should not be doing evangelism if they cannot give a proper illustration of the Trinity without falling into heresy.

We wonder with all of this why our young people are struggling in the area of sexuality. More of us get our sexual ethics from pop culture than we do from Scripture. As has been said before, if a young man and woman are on a couch together, it will take more than a few verses from Paul to stop them. They need a whole worldview of sex to know how it fits in. (Something most secular people don’t have either.)

Our people need to know not just what they believe, but why they should believe it. They should be having discussions of great books and know what the people around them believe. If you’re going to become a Christian in the Middle East, you need to know not only why you believe in Jesus, but why you don’t believe in Islam.

The problem with the culture starts with us. We watch the news and ask what has happened to the world. It is better to ask what has not happened to it. We have not happened to it. We have not been salt and light to the world.

What’s the solution? We have to learn what we believe and why we believe it and know how to interact with the world. That also means knowing more than just the Bible. We need the best education we can get in history, the sciences, economics, psychology, etc. Christians should be the most educated people of all, but in reality, we are usually the dumbest.

Many experts on marriage will tell you you change your marriage best by changing yourself first. If we want to change the world, we change ourselves first. If the culture is going insane, and it is, the best we can do is work on our own sanity.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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Not Everyone Is An Expert

Does social media really help the situation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have posted about reading Abigail Shrier’s book Irreversible Damage recently. I am also going through a book now called The Price of Panic about how we made a lot more of the Coronavirus than it actually was and how that panic cost us. In both cases, one of the main culprits is social media.

On social media, everyone is an expert on everything. Of course, there are people who are experts in real fields on social media, but most everyone thinks they have something to say and it is worthy saying, usually because they are the one saying it. In the election of 2016, everyone was an expert on the electoral college. In Covid, everyone was an expert on medicine. Everyone can be an expert on constitutional law or rioting or any number of subjects that are in the news.

Many of us are willing to speak since that’s easy to do, but few of us are willing to go and read an informative book on the subject matter under question. When we don’t do activities like that, we speak out of our own ignorance. Worse than that, we can take a situation that could be somewhat bad and fan the flames and make it worse.

Consider what happens in the transgender movement. Everyone suddenly knows about what happens when you put cross-hormones in your body. Not only that, but people give attention and validation to someone they don’t really know and have never met. Those people become more important than the ones that are right there in person and know the person far better.

There’s a reason so many kids are going to the internet when they want to learn something about themselves and talking to complete strangers about it. Many of these kids can be very impressionable. On the other side of this, cyber bullying is now a greater hazard because of social media because in the past, the kids at least got a break when they got out of school and the bullies couldn’t reach them. Not today. Now they get home and they are bulled on the internet as well.

In the case of Covid, we liked to share bad news. If 100 planes take off today and they all land safely, you won’t hear about that on social media or on the news. You could hear about the plane that landed safely if your loved one is in it and they post they’re at the airport or a selfie of them there, but you won’t turn on the news and hear “100 planes took off and landed safely today without a hitch.” When one of them crashes, that’s what the news will be. (And on social media, everyone will be an expert on airplanes then as well.)

So what can we do?

First, with children, parents need to definitely monitor social media. I wouldn’t even give your children a smartphone until they’re at least 16, maybe even older. This is especially the case for daughters who will be prone to be tempted to use SnapChat as there are guys who will say on there, “Unless you send me a picture of you topless, I’m going to kill myself.” It’s happened before and some girls fall for it.

Since some kids know how to delete their browser history as well, you could consider being on the computer with them. That way you can be spending time with your children as well. Either way, monitor what they do on social media. Check their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

For the adults in the room, try to inform yourself and really learn how to reason. I got in a debate yesterday with someone about Covid. Rather than consider that maybe I could have a point, it was easier to just refer to me as a science denier.

This is something I see in apologetics debates regularly. Christians will point to atheists as living in denial and just being in love with their sin and ideas like that as to why they’re atheists. I don’t doubt some atheists are atheists because they have a sin that they love and they don’t want to give it up. Often, this could be for sexual reasons, but that doesn’t mean that some atheists aren’t thoughtful people who are really wrestling with the questions and willing to look and listen.

Meanwhile, Christians are often told they are experiencing cognitive dissonance and psychologized over and over about when they came to believe and about their upbringing without discussing the data. It doesn’t help that for many atheists, they automatically equate atheism with reason. You can be a reasonable person and be an atheist or a theist. You can be an unreasonable person and be an atheist or a theist.

Please also try to verify what you share before you share it. I take down conspiracies on both sides honestly. It’s always embarrassing to me when a Christian shares something that can easily be shown to be false in a few minutes. People will be less inclined to take you seriously on the resurrection then which can’t be checked on in just a few minutes.

If you are not an expert, then you can do something about that. You can learn. If you meet someone on Facebook who thinks they are, well, maybe they are. Try to go with the Socratic Method in that case. Ask them the questions about why they believe what they believe. If you read Plato on this with his dialogues of Socrates, it’s really fascinating. You think Socrates is wrong sometimes in his questioning, but you just can’t see it for some reason because the way he asks his questions is so amazing.

If you are not an expert, you could be contributing to false information and sometimes hysteria. We can make bad situations even worse with that kind of behavior. Be careful on social media and even more so if you have children. They can be very impressionable at a young age and not know how to see through fake people on the web. Watch them closely.

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

Book Plunge: So Far

What do I think of Kelsey Grammer’s autobiography published by Dutton? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This one is definitely not a work on apologetics or Christianity, but when my wife and I moved into the new apartment, we cut the cord and got Hulu and Amazon Prime Video instead. I saw that Hulu had Cheers, a show that my Dad and I had watched when we were growing up. I watched through the whole series in order calling my Dad regularly to tell him about the episodes and we would remember them together.

In looking up information about the show, I saw that Kelsey Grammer had written an autobiography which did have some more in it about being on Cheers. My wife and I had decided to watch Frasier next and he had always been a character I liked on the show so I decided to order it. It recently came in at the library and it’s fairly short, so much so that I finished it in two days.

Grammer’s tale is one that really grips so much so that I found it hard to put it down. He spoke of his faith early on in the book, though for those of us who are Christian, it is Christian scientist of the Mary Baker Eddy variety. He doesn’t hold to all the tenets of it though, as he does believe in doctors and medicine.

It also reminded me that despite the impression often given, people in the world of Hollywood can have their lives marred just as much as anyone else can. Grammer has had two people in his life murdered. I do not want to say who for those who might be interested in reading his book.

Grammer also talked about the hard work that goes into being an actor and the tough living he had at times trying to make ends meet. He ended up not finishing school at Juilliard, but he still never gave up on acting. He accepted bit piece by bit piece until Cheers came along where he got established.

And along the way, there was trouble in the area of love. He had a number of marriages that failed. At the end of his book, at least the edition that I read, he talked about dating a girl named Tammi who would be his wife one day and he knew he was ready for her. Looking ahead later on on IMDB, he wasn’t ready. He never married her and while he’s remarried now, there was one more marriage that ended in divorce before this current one.

Grammer also emphasized the importance of reading. One of the greatest compliments he says he received was after doing a show once someone came up to him and said after seeing him in a Shakespearean play, they started reading Shakespeare. Grammer also talks about reading the works of Auden in the book, though I am sure there are many others he reads.

One particularly sad story he told about was a friend who had a rough go in life and then started turning it around and met a beautiful girl and married her. Two days after the wedding, she died in an accident. Just a few days later, her husband had died, probably a suicidal accident. It’s hard to imagine that a large group of people could gather together to celebrate a lifelong love and then in a week the bride and groom are both dead.

Grammer also says he wrote a theme for his life early on and years later found it in Auden’s writings. That theme was to stagger onward rejoicing. That could be a good theme for most of our own lives as well.

We often look at celebrities on the screen and think they don’t have a clue about the real world. In many ways, maybe some don’t. However, reading about Grammer’s life in his own words, I found someone I could understand to a great degree and also understood how he wanted to be accepted as a person apart from his celebrity status.

Not only that, he’s candid about his own problems. Grammer says in the book regularly that he had to undergo therapy. He talked about having to overcome a cocaine addiction when he was on Cheers. I appreciated both of these statements. Being in Hollywood doesn’t mean you’re necessarily insulated.

I found Grammer to be someone I thought I could talk to about intellectual subjects in literature as well as politics seeing as we are both conservatives. Also though, I got a reminder that those people we see on the screen and sometimes we actually look down on in some ways, they need Jesus just as much. Perhaps while we are busy condemning so many things in Hollywood, we should be praying for the salvation of the people there.

If you’re a fan of Cheers or Frasier, you could probably enjoy this work. The chapters are short enough that you could read one quite easily. The writing is more of a stream of consciousness style that I think works well. It left me thinking perhaps I need to read more biographies.

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