Social Engineering

homosexuality, spiritual discernment No Comments

Social engineering is the engineering of consent.  It is a means of bringing about changes in values and beliefs of large numbers of people over a relatively short period of time.  Dr. Samuel A. Stouffer director of the Laboratory of Social Relations, Harvard University, said, “it was a good working rule that people’s attitudes are more easily reached through their emotions than through their intellects” (Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard, p. 221).
One way social engineering is accomplished is through media saturation.  Media critic, Todd Gitlin, argues that media images and soundscapes have become so accessible in restaurants, in homes, at school, and on the street that they combine to become a constant, forceful flow–a “torrent.”  The presence of media in society has grown into “an accompaniment to life that has become a central experience of life” (Todd Gitliln, Media Unlimited, Popologetics, p. 159).  Further, we have become supersaturated with media, we have become addicted to the emotional and sensual “hit” that media offers.  We have become an easily distractible people–a people who are easily bored, easily mollified.  We yearn for what media offers: disposable feelings.  We don’t pay attention to the content of the media because it has become the wallpaper of our lives (Popologetics, p.159).
Here is a warning for Christians.  We must not allow the various forms of media that we experience to determine our beliefs and values.  We must engage all media forms (movies, television, radio, music, newspapers, magazines, books, advertising, etc.) with critical discernment and intentional choices guided by the truth of God’s Word.
One area of concern is entertainment or recreation.  Many of the forms of media just mentioned are experienced when our guard is down.  We are most vulnerable when we are pursuing a good time.  Sinful amusements and entertainment can be vehicles of social engineering.  When the lusts of the flesh are engaged and emotions are activated, one’s thinking can be altered.  “Sinful amusement exploits, addicts, degrades, and dehumanizes, and so twists and distorts the original playful element of God-given shalom” (Popologetics, Ted Turnau, p. 148).
Social engineering has been used to change public opinion regarding homosexuality.  Regarding homosexuality, the emotional argument has been forceful.  Humor, sarcasm, and pathos have been used to change hearts first and then change minds.  Humor has been used in sitcoms on television.  Sarcasm is used to expose supposed homophobia or bigotry.  Pathos has been used in movies to generate sympathy for homosexuals when persecuted by others.  The change that has taken place is one of the most dramatic in human history.  Homosexuality which was once condemned by many is now glorified by many.  We have witnessed the power of the media over the past fifty years to affect social change.
The problem is that homosexuality is a sin in the sight of God (Romans 1:18-32; I Cor. 6:9-10).  This eternal truth cannot be changed by social engineering.  It cannot be changed by political will.  It cannot be changed by the American legislative system.  God’s authority supersedes man’s authority and we ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).

Spiritual Discernment

Postmodernism, spiritual discernment No Comments

Protagoras (ca. 490 BC-420 BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher and is numbered as one of the sophists by Plato.  His most famous quote is, “Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not.”  In philosophical terms, this is called epistemological relativism.  Epistemology is the study of the nature and scope of knowledge and relativism is the belief that reality is determined by subjective thoughts and feelings.  Epistemological relativism is an aspect of postmodernism.  Postmodernism is in conflict with the Christian worldview in America.  Protagoras’ quote, “man is the measure of all things” takes the focus off of God and puts it on man.  This leads to a real difference in how one sees the world.  One area in which this is true is spiritual discernment.  What is spiritual discernment and why is it important?
What is Spiritual Discernment?
Discernment means “to separate one thing from another, to distinguish, to divide.”  It is a function of the mind of man.  There are two derivative meanings:  (1)  to evaluate according to a standard; and (2) to condemn or acquit (disapprove or approve).
Spiritual discernment involves the ability to distinguish between what God approves and disapproves based upon the righteous standard of His holy Word.  Objective truth exists and it is found in God’s Word (John 17:17).  Christians are set apart from the world by conformity to God’s Word.  By faith, we accept and follow what God desires and shun what He condemns.  We must be able to distinguish between truth and error, good from evil and right from wrong.  Spiritual discernment is applied in the areas of: words, actions, and character.  The purpose of spiritual discernment is to stop the advancement of worldliness in the church, prevent the infiltration of erroneous doctrines and keep the church pure.
Why Do Many Lack Spiritual Discernment?
First, God’s Word is no longer recognized as the standard by which to judge words, actions and character.  The rejection of God’s Word leads to establishing approval for all types of behavior that God defines as sinful.  The rejection of God’s Word has paved the way for many of the social changes that are taking place in America today.  Many individuals and groups of individuals work to marginalize and eliminate any influence of God’s Word on the hearts of men.  This leads to tremendous advancement in evil.  American culture is changing, but the change is not in God’s direction.  Evil is advancing in the form of abortions, gambling, homosexuality,drug use including alcohol, sexual immorality which includes fornication and adultery.  When God’s Word is correctly understood, these sins are eliminated as disapproved by God.  True wisdom and knowledge come from God (I Cor. 2:13-15).  Both knowledge and wisdom are essential to spiritual discernment.
Second, many lack spiritual discernment because they have rejected sound reason and logic.  Today’s prevailing philosophy is:  “if it feels right, then, do it.”  Feelings, especially pleasurable feelings, are often tied to the lusts of the flesh.  We seek emotional highs instead of conformity to God’s Will.  The result:  it is no longer a matter of what God wants, but what I like.  God has created us in His image.  Consequently, man is a rational being with the ability to think, discern, understand and decide.  We can understand God’s Will (Eph. 5:16).  We can know the truth (John 8:32).  Equipped with both knowledge of the truth and understanding of God’s Will we can spiritually discern those things that God approves and disapproves.
Third, many lack spiritual discernment because they have accepted the “no judging” rule of our culture.  In postmodernism, all judgment is suspended because there is no objective truth.  Every person determines what is right for them based upon their own subjective feelings and perceptions.  Every person creates their own reality.  This means that one person cannot stand in judgment upon another because there is no basis upon which to make value judgments.  Some even use Matthew 7:1 to forbid all judging.  However, Jesus was not forbidding all types of judging.  He was forbidding self-righteous judgments based upon self-righteous standards.  In John 7:24, Jesus said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”  In Luke 12:57, Jesus said, “Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?”  So, the Lord commands certain types of judgment.  Indeed, spiritual discernment is essential to making the correct decisions regarding our words, actions, and character that will please God and make us acceptable to Him.
Jesus will judge us in the last day!  (John 12:48, II Cor. 5:10).  What criteria or standard will He use?  The answer is in John 12:48, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him:  the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”