Films seduce and indoctrinate us in the same way as soap operas, but there is greater variety and the opportunity to discern the difference between the real and unreal worlds. Consider this sequence of films:
Soap operas (soaps for short) are radio or television drama series following people's daily lives. They were so named because they were first sponsored in the US in the 1930s by soap manufacturers.
In the UK, of course, I mean Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks, Doctors, and the Australian-produced Neighbours and Home and Away. And of course the longest-running one of them all, The Archers (on Radio 4 since 1950). Nowadays people can also readily access soaps from other countries, especially, of course, the USA.
We live in an age when the Western world is dominated by secularist worldviews, secularist big stories. The dominant secularist big stories are those of materialism in both senses of that key word: that physical nature is all there is, and that enjoying material possessions is all that matters. However, for this blog post, the precise characteristics of secularist big stories do not matter; it is enough if two points can be accepted.
Men pay upwards of £1000 to listen to the 'wisdom' and 'insight' of 'pick-up' artist Julien Blanc. His worldview boils down to this: objectify women and use them for your pleasure. Videos of Blanc preaching and ranting can be found online under the hashtag #ChokingGirlsAroundtheWorld.
RealityBites has now delivered presentations on Celebrity Culture and Christian Faith to more than 1300 people in England, Australia and Holland. Here we probe Paris Hilton's lived beliefs.
Forget about what she says! Look at the way she lives! Scrutinise how she treats her 'best friends' from the USA, the UK and Dubai. Evidence for this can be garnered from YouTube. What story is Paris living in?
Here follows a Hilton classic quote:
Barbie is my role model. She might not do anything, but she looks good doing it.
A quick plug for Mark's new LifeMatters course...
"Ideas Have Legs!" will explore the key ideas of the great philosophers and how we can look at them with a Christian worldview. It'll be philosophy like you've never heard it before: an earthy, blood-and-guts investigation into some of the big ideas and idolatries that have shaped our world, from Plato to Rorty.
It's not just about ideas and theories: there'll be examples of real-life situations transformed by good or bad philosophy, with guest speakers… and there'll be pirates, and crocodiles…
When people talk about Christian education, many people think about the archetypal Bible-basher. Someone who attacks you with Scripture.
This is tragic.
In my view Christian education should be about wisdom, discernment and understanding the brutal stories that ruin countless lives. Consider this.
When we talk about Christian education at RealityBites we are not talking primarily about explicit biblical teaching. We are not urging Christian educators to 'Bible-bash'. Rather our concern is to help adults and young people to understand the powerful Worldview Stories that shape and mould our imaginations and lifestyles.
Consider for a moment the powerful Hollywood perspective that repeatedly urges us to:
Trust in your instincts!
Follow your heart!
Follow your dreams!
Have faith in yourself!
Be who you want to be!
HITEC university is situated about 20 miles north-west of Islamabad in Pakistan. It got started in 2007 and now has more than 1400 students.
This is how it 'sells' itself on its website:
HITEC University offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Engineering, Management Sciences, Mathematics, Computer and Islamic Shariah. The up-to-date and well-conformed [sic] syllabi have been tailored to the market needs and are designed to equip the students with the latest developments in their fields of specialization.
In 1998 in Devon, England, Fido, a pet rat was minding his own business in his cage, when an electric fire set alight Lisa Gumbley's carpet and furniture. Fido managed to escape from his unlocked cage but instead of darting to safety he scuttled up the stairs to awaken single mother Lisa and her daughters, Megan, nine, and Shannon, three.
Fido frantically scratched at the bedroom door to alert 29-year-old Lisa to the impending disaster. She takes up the story:
The noise of the scratching woke me up and I got up to go to the toilet and I found Fido.