Super Bowl Halftime Show according to C.S. Lewis

This year’s Super Bowl halftime show with Shakira and JLo created a lot of buzz and commentary. Just another example of how there seems to not be one single issue that Americans can agree on these days. Conversations abounded on the topics of cultural values and modesty in entertainment.  I just reread Mere Christianity around the time of the Super Bowl and this section popped out to me as being potentially relevant yet written nearly 80 years ago! This is perhaps how C.S. Lewis might have framed the topic:

The Christian rule of chastity must not be confused with the social rule of “modesty” (in one sense of that word: i.e. propriety, or decency). The social rule of propriety lays down how much of the human body should be displayed and what subjects can be referred to, and in what words, according to the customs of a given social circle.

Thus, while the rule of chastity is the same for all Christians at all times, the rule of propriety changes. A girl in the Pacific islands wearing hardly any clothes and a Victorian lady completely covered in clothes might both be equally “modest,” proper, and decent, according to the standards of their own societies; and both, for all we can tell by their dress, might be equally chaste (or equally unchaste).”

Intersectionality and Christianity

About a month ago I read a five-part article by apologist Neil Shenvi and found it to be the most relevant analysis regarding the cultural conflict in America that I have read this year. I highly recommend reading A Long Review of Race, Class, and Gender when you have time. Read all five parts as parts 3 through 5 cannot be missed.

Here is a sampling:

Part 3 – the Ugly

Critical theory summarized

Critical theory unifies the essays in this anthology. Since critical theory is an interdisciplinary project that spans decades and dozens of distinct fields, defining it can be challenging. Moreover, since it often functions as a worldview (that is, as a comprehensive, interpretive framework for understanding reality), its tenets are often implicitly adopted rather than being explicitly stated. However, I’ll try to list a few of its fundamental assumptions, providing quotes from the book to illustrate each point (see below; more available on request).RaceClassAndGender

– Premise 1: human relationships should be fundamentally understood in terms of power dynamics, which differentiates groups into ‘oppressors’ and ‘the oppressed’
 Premise 2: Our identity as individuals is inseparable from our group identity, especially our categorization as ‘oppressor’ or ‘oppressed’ with respect to a particular identity marker
– Premise 3: All oppressed groups find their fundamental unity in their common experience of oppression
– Premise 4: The fundamental human project is liberation from all forms of oppression; consequently, the fundamental virtue is standing in solidarity against the oppressor

The four principles outlined above are not a random assortment of disconnected beliefs. Instead, they form a unified, coherent framework for viewing everything about our lives, from our identity, to our fundamental problem (oppression), to our fundamental moral duty (fighting for liberation), to the basis for unity between individuals (common oppression/solidarity). If we adopt them, they will dramatically influence how we think about many important issues, from poverty to abortion to human sexuality.

Part 4 – Critical theory and Christianity

In the last section, I gave several general reasons to reject the tenets of critical theory. In the next few sections, I’ll focus on reasons for Christians in particular to reject critical theory.RaceClassAndGender

Both Christianity and critical theory are worldviews; that is, they are comprehensive, coherent ways of looking at reality. However, I believe that they are mutually incompatible. To the extent that a person adopts a Christian worldview, they will have to abandon the basic tenets of critical theory if they are to remain consistent.

The first conflict between critical theory and Christianity relates to the issue of identity. Identity (that is, how we view ourselves and others) plays a tremendously important role in critical theory and in postmodernism. Critical theory would insist that gender, race, ethnicity, class, age, etc… are fundamental components of our identities. However, from a Christian perspective, there are three far more fundamental categories of identity which critical theory ignores. What is more, this omission is not accidental; it is a consequence of critical theory itself. As a result, we cannot simply tack Christianity on to critical theory, or vice versa. One will have to be rejected.

The three categories I have in mind are: 1) human beings as the imago Dei, 2) human beings as sinners, and 3) human beings as united in Christ. (continued…)

 

Evaluating a Meme on Evolution

“You don’t “believe” in evolution…” “… you either understand it or you don’t” -Unknown This is a silly bumper sticker-like meme. It is not only condescending but also presents equivocal language and a false dilemma. The equivocation comes in the word “evolution”. “Evolution” has different meanings that should be described, however, the nature of a […]

American Sniper article response

This article from an Australian newspaper was forwarded to me http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/australias-deadliest-sniper-ian-robertson-never-did-the-arithmetic-20150121-12urq2.html. It is comparing the experiences of an Australian Korean War veteran and sniper with how Hollywood portrays war. This article was first published in Good Weekend on April 26, 2004. But it was recently re-published in the wake of the popular movie “American Sniper” […]