Archive for the ‘zeitgeist’ Tag

Many Voices   Leave a comment

The spirit of the world today calls in many voices.

Philosophy sings that we should give up hope of absolutes and universals and place our trust in synthesis or else live our lives in cognitive dissonance segregating reason from faith, value and true meaning.

Art — mostly — reflects this. From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, art was Duchamp - Nude Descending a Staircase.jpghumanistic. Consider Michelangelo’s statues boldly placing the human form on display (and, yes, the full frontal was a deliberate choice on my part).

Today, however, man is diminished in art, fragmented, distorted. Reality itself is rarely represented. The message is that everything is in flux. There is no truth or objective reality.

Francis Schaeffer decried the music of the modern era — using John Cage as an example, but Schaeffer never knew Hearts of Space and ambient electronica. I once was writing while the radio was on. When the sound became distorted and incomprehensible, I was so into my writing that I left it on for two hours, using it as white noise. Imagine my surprise when Steven Hill informed me that I’d been listen to actual “atmospheric music” with a composer’s name attached. It had sounded like an air conditioning unit to me.

Sadly, theology has joined the zeitgeist. Scripture is up for interpretation and it can mean anything — or nothing. As long as you feel good about the message you’ve assembled from the scraps you accept, it doesn’t really matter.

So we are told ….

Of course, the real battle is for our minds — our thought lives. Whether we listen to the music or enjoy the art is not where we rise or fall, but whether we are resisting the world-spirit in our thought lives.

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” the apostle Paul wrote.

If we’re not going to get the world’s muck on us, the first order of business is to resist the world’s way of thinking in our own minds.

Anti Law   Leave a comment

The zeitgeist of ani-law always exists, but it manifests itself in different ways for different generations. For three hundred years in the Christian era, the world-spirit persecuted Christians. In the Roman Catholic era, the world-spirit actually worked through the ecclesiastical structure to put clergy in the seat of God, separating believers from a personal relationship. In the Protestant era, the rise of the state church sought to maintain that status quo. More recently, humanism and post-modern anti-belief-in-anything has been the flavor of zeitgeist for our society. The tone changes, but the goal is always the same — distract believers from God’s purpose and conform us to the world rather than to God.

If Christians are not to get the muck of the world on us, we must resist the general spirit of lawlessness, but we must also recognize and resist this generation’s flavor of rebellion.

That’s easier said than done.

Christians are naive if we think we are not surrounded by the world-spirit which claws at us from birth to death. A thousand voices obvious and subtle express its mentality every waking moment of our days. We try to shut our doors against it, but like the smoke of a forest fire, it works its way in and seeps into our subconscious. Worse — it infects our children and because everybody is doing it, it seems normal to them.

The solution is not to ignore the zeitgeist. We’ve been doing that for a long time. How’s that working out?

Instead, we should turn it up like we’re sitting in front of the speakers at Lollapalooza, so that we hear every word and can analyze what is being said. We know that the message is the same whether we’re standing in Renaissance Italy or Fairbanks Alaska in 2014. It’s all one message — the spirit of the world and the particular flavor it takes in our generation — is all an attempt to silence, mischaracterize, and marginalize the God of the Bible so that that the god of this world has no socially-acceptable rivals.

And, who is the god of this world?

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