CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Danger! Danger! They Are Taking Over!

Oct 3, 2007

I just saw a piece on Channel Seven’s current affairs show, Today Tonight. I am so glad I did. It was an expose of a terribly worrying state of affairs. It was enough to send shivers down your spine. What the reporters uncovered was just so dastardly and incredible.

Yes, we owe Today Tonight a huge debt of gratitude for uncovering this horrible conspiracy. We can all sleep better tonight knowing that the sleuths at Channel Seven are protecting us from these sorts of atrocities.

The conspiracy involves a popular TV show, Australian Idol. The intrepid reporters at Today Tonight dug up the dirt on how this show is being taken over by a very sinister and reprehensible group of rabble-rousers.

So what was the conspiracy all about? Who are these nefarious and malicious types who are taking over Australian Idol? Is it a ring of child pornographers? Is it a gang of international drug traffickers? Is it a group of suicide bombers plotting mischief and mayhem?

No, it is much worse than all that. Believe it or not, there are actually Christians on Australian Idol! Yes, you heard me correctly. There are born-again believers singing on this show! Can you imagine that? How low can you go? What next? Surely there must be a law against all this.

According to this very important story, we were informed that no less than 4 of the remaining 8 finalists on Idol are actually Christians! And many come from that mischievous world of darkness, Hillsong Church in Sydney. Not only that, but the report informed us that there have been other born-again Christians on the show in the past, including Guy Sebastian.

It is just so vital that we have these sorts of investigative journalists, warning us of all these hidden dangers. Yes, conspiracies abound, and we owe the Today Tonight team quite a lot for their bravery and zeal in uncovering and exposing this sinister plot.

I am sure if they keep up the great work, they may even uncover some closet Christians working at Channel Seven itself. Boy, those Christians have a lot of gall, to think they can actually live in the real world and participate in the activities of the day. That is simply so diabolical!

Seriously, though…

Now am I missing something here? Am I really so thick that I just cannot see the crimes being committed here, or the outrage involved in all this? Is it really now unacceptable for Christians to sing, or to sing in public, or to enter a game show?

For heaven’s sakes – if I can use that obviously unacceptable term – Channel Seven, your anti-Christian bigotry could not be any more apparent. If this is the worst you can dig up on Christianity, maybe it is time to can the show and come up with something different.

Must I remind the Christophobes at Today Tonight that at the last census, a full 64 per cent of Australians identified themselves as Christians? If that is the case, you would expect 64 percent of all bakers to be Christian, 64 per cent of all plumbers to be Christian, and 64 per cent of all teachers to be Christian.

And, believe it or not, you would expect 64 per cent of all singers on Australian Idol to be Christian. As such, there really should be 5 finalists, not just 4!

Just exactly how is it that Christians on Idol comprise some sort of sinister conspiracy to bring down Western civilisation? Just why is that such a horrible situation?

One can only suspect that either Today Tonight is running out of worthy material – and that may have been the case for some years now – or they are just no longer even trying to cover up their anti-Christian animosity and prejudice.

Of course I suppose we should expect no less from secular, profit-driven TV executives. But imagine the outrage if they tried a similar expose of a sinister plot to have Muslims singing on Australian Idol. Somehow I just don’t think they would have the guts to do that sort of story.

Christians are always a much safer target. They are not in the habit of flying airplanes into buildings, as some are. So it is open season on Christianity, and we are just supposed to roll over and play dead. Well, sorry, but I have as much right to live in this country as anyone else, and Christians have as much right to sing in public as anyone else.

But one suspects the anti-Christian bigotry will only continue to get worse, unless believers stand up and say enough is enough. Indeed, one wonders how such a story as this fares under Victoria’s religious vilification laws.

Our response, as always, is twofold. We must continue to pray for those who persecute us, and seek to show them a saviour whom they very much need. But it is not contradictory to also firmly yet politely call these public bodies to task, and let them know that they cannot get away with such bigotry so lightly. After all, they are inflaming religious hatred by running such items, and are therefore responsible for the possible harm they are causing to the community.

[873 words]

46 Responses to Danger! Danger! They Are Taking Over!

  • Thank you Bill, great response.
    Stan Fishley

  • Brilliant, just brilliant!! Saw this here in SA as well……must have been on in all states tonight from what I gather…..oh and 190,000 AOG members out of how many million Australians?…oh just googled it: On 3 October 2007 at 21:45:34 (Canberra time), the resident population of Australia is projected to be:
    21,103,892
    Wow a huge takeover…….
    Meleese Pollock

  • Thanks Bill. It is terrible what depth these current affairs shows go to. They simply don’t have enough stuff for a quality five days per week half hour show.
    Matthew Mulvaney

  • And on Channel 9 News tonight they had a story about a devastated family who lost their dog.

    Boy… it’s been a couple of “slow news days”!

    Alister Cameron

  • Thanks Bill.

    You have just re-confirmed my decision that our family avoids almost all free-to-air television, and all pay television.

    Every attempt to dispose of TV sets has failed, as people “kindly” donate one to us.

    At least it allows us to choose edifying material or at least of an era when standards were much higher.

    John Angelico

  • It certainly is absurd that Today Tonight should make an issue out of this. If they wanted to raise a legitimate point about it they could have asked why Christians appear just as keen as everyone else to jump on the celebrity fad bandwagon that is Australian Idol?

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • I believe Idol and Hillsong both guarantee an increase in viewer numbers, so Idol and Hillsong together is even better. I admit I fell for it. I couldn’t resist tuning in to see if they showed Guy, that dastardly evil villain that started it all.
    Susan Reynolds

  • Hi Bill,

    I think we all have to remember that the concepts of “news” and “journalism” are barely present in this program at the best of times. I have actually noticed this anti-Christian sentiment before though – they once ran an expose on Anglican foodbanks who were doing the dastardly crime of distributing out of date food according to Channel 7 reporters.
    ACA on channel nine is slightly better when dealing with Christian issues, although the journalism over there is only marginally better…

    These shows exist to bring peoples’ frustrations and prejudices into the open and that’s what should be concerning the Christian viewer in this case…

    Yarran Johnston

  • Sheesh, if that’s all those tv yeahoos have to worry about, Bill, send them here! Just as I was reading your blog, emergency vehicles were blasting down the road behind us. Sometimes that happens four or five times a day. They might even get a picture of someone getting a……gasp…. speeding ticket!

    Seriously, if life’s really that quiet in Australia, I need to move there. I am sick of Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and all the celebrity trash reporting.

    BTW, have you heard about the big ripping of the veil in the Emergent Church in America, Bill? Apparently Mark Driscoll has thrown down the gauntlet and named McLaren, Bell, and at least one other “mega-emergent” as heretics. Driscoll has been distancing himself from the others for quite some time, but this was somewhat unexpected. Funny thing, I didn’t know a thing about it until I read about it on another “Godblogger” site. I wonder what fear and trembling horror your Channel 7 reporters would make of it.

    M.E. Huffmaster

  • You watch Today Tonight????
    James Beattie

  • I missed it! But then I don’t watch much TV and this probably confirms why. Much rather listen to LightFM all day long – much better stuff on there! I wonder if they will cover this story sometime though…..?
    Kathie M. Thomas

  • I wonder what would happen if all declaring Christians in Australia chose to opt out of society as shows like “Today Tonight” suggest.
    It would seem that the only valuable contribution to society that we Christians make is in our taxes.
    I can only agree with Alister Cameron “boy … it’s been a couple of slow news days.”
    Jim Sturla

  • Thanks James
    Hey, I was just flicking channels. Really!
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I am thinking….what would Jesus think about Christians participating in a show called Australian IDOL. This implies that these participants want to win the the show to become the IDOL of Australia! God forbid!!
    I think the name of this show is ungodly and implies the glorification of man and not God.
    For this reason alone, Christians should not be part of it!!

    Robert Phillips

  • Thanks Robert

    Although hopefully most Christians who go on a show like this do not do it to be idolised, but to showcase their God-given talents and to bring glory to God. That should be their aim, at least in part. And since singing is a gift of God, and even something we are enjoined to do in Scripture, I don’t have a real problem with believers being on such shows. I guess it depends on what their motivation is, and so on. The name of the show may be incidental to all this.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill,
    I disagree, the NAME is important, just as Gods NAME is important.
    It is not a case of “a name a name, whats in a name, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”….
    I am not against singing Bill, I do that a church when I worship the one who only should be worshipped and adored, but I am against compromising the witness of the Church in this already dark world…..

    Robert Phillips

  • Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. (Robert J. Hanlon)

    But perhaps there is a bit of both!

    Dale Flannery

  • Bill, I don’t want to be a gainsayer here but before we all get indignant and hot under the collar, Jesus says we should rejoice when we are persecuted for his name’s sake. Acts 17:6 talks about Paul and his team causing a stir in Thessalonica. The Jews accused them of turning the world upside down: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here.” Surely that is one of the greatest compliments which has ever been paid to Christianity. . . . When Christianity really goes into action it must cause a revolution both in the life of the individual and in the life of society.
    If we are not experiencing opposition and vilification, for doing good, what does that say about our Christian walk? The trouble is the church is seen as that nice(quaint and a bit out of touch with reality) bunch of people down the road who wouldn’t hurt a fly.
    When bricks are coming through the window, our houses and churches are being burnt down and we are being hauled off to prison, that then is the time to rejoice. To my shame I am nowhere near that.
    In the meantime, as with Paul, we need to appeal to the law and point out the inconsistency and double standards of those persecuting us. Above all we need to fight for the freedom of expression enjoyed throughout western civilisation that was paid for with the blood of previous Christian generations.
    In Britain that freedom is yet again under attack. First, the Muslims, last year attempted to silence all criticism of their world view – just as they had tried with the two Dannys in Victoria – and now the homosexual rights activists are calling upon the government to extend existing racial hatred law to cover ‘homophobic’ incidents. This would mean that a pastor, preaching about the sinfulness of homosexuality from his own pulpit, could be liable to a maximum of 7 years imprisonment. Stonewall, the homosexual rights lobby group, have been encouraging their supporters to write to their MPs asking them to support an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill, which receives its second reading on Monday 8th October. The amendment would be aimed at tackling words and behaviour which ‘stir up hate against gay people’. The Bill does not currently contain such a provision.
    The type of actions targeted would not only be violently homophobic words, but would no doubt cover any criticism of practising homosexuality, homosexual acts and lifestyles. We faced a very similar battle with the religious hatred law, which was eventually amended to protect freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
    There are those in Australia, also, who are working quietly but purposefully to take away your freedom, even as you read this. Please pray for the defeat of this amendment which will be debated this Monday.
    David Skinner, UK

  • As you said three articles ago (in your review of The Culturally Savvy Christian) Bill, one of the tragedies of modern evangelicalism is that “young believers are not all that different from young non-believers today.” This appears to be mostly true of the ones who participate in the popular TV talent shows. Apart from a few routine comments about not having sex with their boyfriend/girlfriend before marriage, there’s really not much outward difference in standards of dress or behaviour.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • Dale,
    “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity”
    is an excellent quote but goes back further than Robert Heinlen the sci-fi writer. Some have even attributed it to Napoleon Bonaparte.
    John Angelico

  • Did you see Today Tonight this evening? Now they’ve interviewed a couple (not married and living together) who are ‘blowing the whistle’ on the cultish aspects of Hillsong after seeing last night’s report.

    They said they were under a lot of pressure while they were there… yeah, probably to stop living in sin and get married, they have two kids and just left the church 2 months ago. Will be interesting to see if Hillsong comes back with an official stance or whether they just ignore it.

    Kathie M. Thomas

  • Thanks Kathie

    Yes I did see it, and yes your comments were my thoughts exactly. The disgruntled former member and her “partner” said they now attend a small church where they are not judged. In other words, no one is challenging them about claiming to be Christian yet living in sin.

    So given that she and her partner are clearly living outside of the will of God, at least on this issue, it comes as no surprise that they are taking out their bitterness and venom on Hillsong.

    All of which is not to say that Hillsong is perfect (I am worried about aspects of it) but the continued crusade by Today Tonight is just so much foolishness and anti-Christian bigotry.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks, Robert, for your perceptive response. Your response reminded me of Galatians 5 and the “works of he flesh” which include idolatry (v. 20).

    Seems to me that the Christian is looking so much like the world and we are not seeing the danger in this.

    The issue is not that of Christians being salt and light wherever the Lord places them. it is the participation in worldly activities and most on this blog want to see that as being salt and light when it seems to me to be a demonstration of identification with worldly thinking and action.

    Spencer Gear, Hervey Bay, Qld.

  • Thanks guys

    But now we are beginning to confuse several different issues. The main point of my article was to highlight the foolishness and mischievousness of Today Tonight for its story. What exactly is the big deal here? All kinds of people sing in public song competitions, and all kinds of groups urge their members to vote for various singers on such programs. Just how is this a capital crime, at least when Christians do it? The two stories on TT were just a foolish beat-up at best, and ugly anti-Christian bigotry at worst.

    But the issue of whether Christians should appear on such shows in the first place is altogether a different matter. And I think we need to be careful here. None of us know the motives of these Christian contestants. Some may well just want the glory and fame and the strokes on the ego. That is of course not good enough. But others may well be there because they feel their Lord wanted them to be there, to be a witness and a testimony, in one way or another.

    Thus I think we need to be careful about judging them in this regard. God knows their hearts, not us. I have no problem at all if a believer wants to go on a public singing contest. I might have second thoughts about them wanting to go on a sleazeball show like Big Brother. But it comes down to individual believers seeking to learn and do the will of God.

    The biblical parameters cut both ways. On the one hand, Paul tells us that he became all things to all people, in order to win some. On the other hand, he warns us about participating in the unfruitful works of darkness. But is a singing contest intrinsically evil and to be avoided?

    And with all due respect to some commentators here, the review I did recently of Culturally Savvy Christians was an argument in the other direction: believers should be involved in culture, and we should be leading the way, just as believers in the past were cultural leaders.

    We all should bemoan pop culture shallowness, and corresponding pop Christianity shallowness. But that is not at all to argue for the complete abandonment of culture, and that we should have nothing to do with the world we live in. We are called to be salt and light in this world, and to make an impact in every area of life. The Lordship of Christ demands nothing less.

    But this whole train of thought may require a new posting, as it is beginning to get a bit far afield of the original post.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Interesting to hear that Today Tonight is still on the Christian bashing bender. If Hillsong are being criticised for making an unmarried couple feel like they needed to change their living arrangements then they must be doing something right.

    I certainly agree that “believers should be involved in culture, and we should be leading the way, just as believers in the past were cultural leaders.” But is what we see in the contemporary examples of Christians involved in pop culture an example of them “leading the way” or just imitating the ways of the world?

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • Thanks Ewan

    Of course when I said that we should be leading the way culturally, I was not suggesting that something like singing on Idol was an example of this. As I said in my book review, where are the CS Lewis’s of our day? The point Staub was making is that pop culture is dumbing us down, and Christianity is often mirroring this process.

    Again, whether individual believers should get involved in something like Idol is another matter. As I keep telling my students, find out what God wants you to do and do it with all your heart.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill,

    I’m concerned that the nature of “Australian Idol” is fostering idolatry, which is one of the deeds of darkness.

    You rightly stated: “We all should bemoan pop culture shallowness, and corresponding pop Christianity shallowness. But that is not at all to argue for the complete abandonment of culture.” My post did not promote the abandonment of culture but took a brief look at the nature of “Australian Idol” and Christian involvement.

    In fact, I’m of the view that “pop Christianity shallowness” is associated with some of the songs coming out of Hillsong, that is contributing to the dumbing down of biblical theology in Christian music.

    Spencer Gear, Hervey Bay, Q.

  • My children and I watch the show most nights it’s on. It’s great entertainment.

    If I can presumptuously assume the creative imagination and worldview of Francis Schaeffer (and the like) for a moment, I can imagine them urging involvement in “the creative arts” in an effort to present the heart of the Father in its fullness and full roundedness.

    Often Evangelicalism has been rightly accused of being too left-brained, and this was something Schaeffer wanted to correct. So “redeeming” the Arts was important to him and we should be reminded of that again today, perhaps.

    I am, of course, not saying that Christians on Aussie Idol would be his idea of “redeeming the Arts”, per se, but I must say I delight to see young Christians on TV using their God-given talents as best they can.

    It would be another form of short-sighted Evangelicalism to ask them to sing only Christian songs, or wear a WWJD t-shirt. Schaeffer and his kind would insist that the beauty of God’s created order speaks for itself… and doesn’t need a Scripture verse appended in order to make it “holy”.

    The challenge for these young Christians will be to avoid getting blinded in the stage lighting, so to speak. That will depend on their walk with the Lord and the communities of faith they call “home”.

    But my point is, lets be 100% behind every effort of Christians to express their gifts and talents in a redeemed way in every forum of life, not least the Arts. And lets rejoice when their skills bring glory to God… with or without a Bible verse attached.

    (By the way, as far as Idol is concerned, there are also a number of Christians behind the scenes on that show, but they don’t get mentioned.)

    Alister Cameron

  • Thanks Alister

    I am with you on this one. Evangelicalism has been working on getting this balance right for some decades now. When the social gospel/fundamentalism split took place a century ago, Bible-believing Christians tended to withdraw from culture altogether, labelling cultural involvement as at best a waste of time, and at worst, works of the devil.

    Francis Schaeffer and others rightly grieved over such an unnecessary approach, and asked for believers to lead the way in creativity and talent, reflecting out creative Father God.

    Again, the merits of participation in Idol can be debated. So too can the merits or otherwise of much that is coming out of Hillsong. But I am with Schaeffer 100 per cent in his pleas to get Evangelicals to embrace the whole world that God has made, and not just see spirituality as dealing with reading the Bible or evangelising.

    As I mentioned in my review of Staub’s book (where much of this debate should probably be taking place!), an associate of Schaeffer, Hans Rookmaaker is quoted as saying, “Jesus did not come to make us Christian; Jesus came to make us fully human”.

    There is much truth in that. We are not just souls waiting to go to heaven. We are whole persons (body and soul and/or spirit) that should be taking the Lordship of Christ seriously in every area of life. All of the works by Schaeffer could be consulted here. But his slim 1973 volume, “Art and the Bible” would be a good place to start.

    Also highly recommended in this whole area would be Albert Wolter’s “Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview” (Eerdmans, 1985). It is short but excellent in helping us to think outside of the box, and get a handle on what it means to let the Lordship of Christ permeate every area of life.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Whole heartedly agree.

    Our take on Hillsong, TodayTonight and Christophobes is here – thethinmanreturns.blogspot.com/2007/10/exposed-how-tv-current-affairs-shows.html

    Nora Charles

  • Thanks Spencer Gear for your post at 5.10.07 / 5am

    Your comment: “In fact, I’m of the view that “pop Christianity shallowness” is associated with some of the songs coming out of Hillsong, that is contributing to the dumbing down of biblical theology in Christian music.”….Is spot on!!

    Bill, Spencer and I are not saying we think participating in a public singing contest is intrinsically sinful, it isn’t. We are talking about the more subtle, more pervasive influences, of pop culture and to put it basically,… the WORLD system.
    As you know Bill, this system exalts man and not God. That is idolotry. In the world its all about us, but in reality its all about Jesus, who created everything and gave himself to save us. Isn’t He wonderful!!!
    I will conclude this line of discussion by quoting the Apostle John in 1 John 2:15-17:

    15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

    Best Regards, Robert Phillips

  • It was interesting to note that Sunrise were on the same bandwagon a couple of mornings ago. In my opinion the media is actually scared of anything truly Christian being in any way represented on our TV. That would mean people would have to start thinking about who Jesus is, what Jesus preached about how to live a fulfilling life, and we wouldn’t want to be challenged by that now, would we!!
    Teresa Binder

  • Quite right Teresa.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Two things:
    Firstly, someone raised the question of what would happen if all Christians opted out of society. (They started to do that at the rise of monasticism). In Australia, we would have to say goodbye to our current governor-general, our prime minister, and our federal opposition leader and who else?
    Secondly, if we Christians are taking over, there must be some other person or group of people or organisation in charge. So I ask Channel Seven from whom are we Christians taking over?
    Greg Brien

  • Well written Bill. I spent much of my working life in the media (radio mainly); now I don’t know what the situation is with the people responsible for commentary and reporting on Today Tonight, which I’ve always seen as very shallow, with less that quality interviewing. It is a show I rarely watch. Over the many years I was employed in the media, I’ve always found three problems with objectivity from most people in so-called “news” gathering. (1) They are nearly all orientated to the left and far left positions in political, social or pseudo religious opinions. (2) They often write or report more to impress their peers, rather than just “inform” the public. (3) They are often motivated in their malice towards Christianity in general and mainly the Catholic Church, because as former members, the Church makes them feel guilty about their lifestyles, particularly in sexual matters.
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Queensland

  • First those dastardly Christians infiltrate Idol, and what next? Parliament House?

    But seriously, this rubbish journalism just reinforces what we already understand about the Christophobic sway of the popular media. It’s unfortunate that so many people accept this trash uncritically, and allow it to shape their worldview.

    Since when was it a negative and scandalous thing to be a Christian in this nation?

    Luke Beattie

  • Prettywell everething has been said but perhaps we can take comfort in the last count of Christians in the world (per the Encyclopaedia Britannica Yearbook 2007) with a (mid-2006) total of 2,173,183,400, and increasing. In 1900 there were 558,056,300. It seems that the producers of these shows are running out of ideas and Christians are fair game. Maybe because of the poor (and getting poorer) quality of many TV presentations, it might be time to quit and give radio a go! And my wife will breath easy when I stop shouting at the box.
    Peter Rice

  • Hi Robert
    I think we are getting a little bit away from the topic but many of the views about modern music concern me as I have had bad experiences with musically biased Christians in the past.
    It would do well for us to realise that many of the songs we so reverently sing in churches today were actually the upbeat modern songs of the past.
    In fact one of our favourite all time Christmas carols was actually a German bar room tune.
    I have listened to the words of modern songs and to be quite honest I have found them to be more in line with the Bible than the older songs.
    Worship to me is one of the heart, it is my expression of love to God, if God insisted on form shouldn’t we be singing in Hebrew not English.
    We are called to be “the head, not the tail”, this means we are to be leaders not followers.
    You lead from the front, God knows the motivation behind these Idol peformers and He will judge.
    I believe it is a great witness that such a nationwide show has so many Christian contestants.
    The message that they present is relevant to today.
    We are told to be in the world but not of the world and the message that these young people put forward is that Christianity is modern and is relevant to today.
    Jim Sturla

  • Really I am not sure whether to bristle or feel flattered as a practising christian that we can strike such terror in Chalnnel 7 simply becuase we are united in a common purpose of worshiping a common god. These people are gutless and pathetic really.

    Pat Abrahams

  • Yes Pat, I fully agree with you, these people are gutless and pathetic.
    They attack Christians with immunity because there is a lack of response on our part, little to nil protection of our rights by the government and the fact is that it is intellectually popular.
    These people should well remember that you can only push a person so far before the will turn and take action.
    Christians have been taught to “turn the other cheek” and to “love your enemies” which has actually developed a victims mentality in us.
    Many Christians have fallen under the belief that persecution is a sign of righteousness.
    Jesus was not a victim.
    When Jesus saw persecution He took action.
    Jim Sturla

  • Hi Bill, I just read your article and I could not stop laughing, it really tickled my funny bone that “Today Tonight” could run such a funny story on the Idol finalists. They need to get a life at Channel 7, or as you say they have run out of material to express to the viewers. I love Australian Idol and I am very impressed with the God-given talent this year. Keep up the good work our young Christian Ambassadors.
    And hi Spencer and Robert. I have just read what you have both written and I get the feeling that you both have a little bit of judgement going on here. I have had a lot to do with AOG Churches and I know for a fact that our youth are taught to put our “Sovergein Lord” first and foremost in every part of their lives. Our youth are doing a wonderful work reaching out to our young people in the world and we must encourage this and not be such fuddy duddy’s in our thoughts and beliefs where our young ambassadors for Christ are concerned. We have a youth inspired band at our church, but there is always room for us oldie’s to be part of the praise and worship. A very interesting debate people.
    Rae Wallace, Devonport

  • I read with interest Spencer Gear’s comment that “the nature of Australian Idol is fostering idolatry” and felt compelled to comment. Unless I’m not mistaken, Spencer, don’t we live, unfortunately I must say, in a time when perhaps half of the world’s six billion people are concerned or connected with the affairs, interests or pleasures of the world? Don’t single out one television program for special attention. Don’t millions of people each year just in Australia alone blindly adore reality television programs like “Big Brother” and its spin-offs, where sex, nudity, infidelity, course language, late-night gossiping, back-stabbing and other adult themes are the norm, or “teenage soapies” like “Neighbours” and “Home And Away”, are not much better? Such programs have the potential to turn its participants into national celebrities – Australian Idol included.

    Then what about such overseas TV reality progams as “Temptation Island” – where several couples agreed to live with a group of singles of the opposite sex, in order to test the strength of their relationships; “Boy Meets Boy” – where a gay man named James Getzlaff selects another man to date from among a group of 15 potential suiters, known as “mates”; “There’s Something About Miriam” – featuring six men wooing 21 year-old Mexican model Miriam without revealing that she was a transsexual until the final episode; and “Can You Be A Porn Star” – the title speaks for itself – two of which, I know at least have been aired in Australia? … and the list goes on and on! Comparing “Australian Idol” to “Big Brother” and these fore mentioned shows is like comparing the morals of Jesus to Adolph Hitler.

    Then there are sportspeople, models, actors and actresses, singers and musicians on the national and international stage. Spencer, aren’t they not also our idols – to the young and old alike – yesterday, today and tomorrow? Reality check – welcome to the 21st century!

    Glenn Timmins, Vic.

  • Thanks Glenn

    I guess the problem I had with some comments here (about not going on Idol, or not even liking the term ‘Idol’ in the name) was that it actually undid what some of these commentators were trying to say. Yes idolatry is a real concern which the Bible speaks much about. But we almost trivialise and minimise the biblical concern when we pick on one show – just a singing contest – or even the term in the name of a show. Idolatry in the biblical sense is much greater and much more insidious. It affects everything, and can be found everywhere. It can even be found in churches and in good Christian things. Thus Guinness can speak of the idolatry of the church growth movement, for example. And a believer – even I – can make an idol of trying to win a debate with commentators on a blog site!

    So idolatry in one sense is a whole lot bigger and more deceptive than we sometimes imagine. To single out as an example of idolatry a singing contest show and bewail something like a phrase on TV program is perhaps to miss the real point about the biblical warnings against idolatry. The whole fallen world in one sense is an idol. Every time we are out of the will of God, even for “lesser sins” such as gossip, intellectual pride, even spiritual pride, we are partaking in the fallen idolatrous world system.

    Thus I became a bit impatient with where this discussion had been heading, and curtailed it. But my impatience may also be idolatrous! So we all need to be careful here. We sometimes major on minors, and minor on majors. Seeing the trees, we perhaps lose sight of the forest.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Yes, Glenn, I was rather myopic, but that was the topic that was addressed, “Australian Idol.” I was simply sticking with the topic but it wasn’t the emphasis Bill wanted.

    Spencer, Hervey Bay, Qld.

  • Thanks Spencer

    Your comments are always welcome here. But the topic (and therefore appropriate emphasis) of course was the Today Tonight beat-up and anti-Christian bigotry, not whether it is appropriate for believers to be on Idol. As it went further in that direction, the more I started to cringe, because A) it was off topic; and B), if the litmus test of Biblical spirituality and holiness is to stay clear of a song contest, even if it has the word ‘idol’ in it, then I think we are starting to lose the plot.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I am confused, dont you mean “self proclaimed christians”? as opposed to actual “christians” for I have gone under the perhaps foolish belief that only God can tell or proclaim you to be a christian, a person can try to follow the information and advices on the best way to live according to the few records on Jesus, but cannot judge others on their journey. I say this for as a general rule of thumb the louder and more attention a person draws to themselves about what they claim are their christian ways and beliefs the less I find any similarity or linkage between them and records on Jesus, perhaps I am missing something. Hillsong being the focus of this idol show or ego fiasco, is particularly noisy about them being christians but the most common theme of there preaching seems to revolve around money the the pursuit of more money, and why you should pursue it

    I agree channel 7 current affairs probably was way off mark, but I thought a person trying to follow the christian path could very quickly find that they are shock/horror propaganda channel, I never watch it for this reason (would prefer to read the bible if there was nothing better on), if they thought they could get better ratings by feeding any less popular group to lions (and get away with it), they would, they make their money on controversy and picking the winning propaganda piece, they know it will sideline some of their audience, it is a calculated economic decision, a bit like hillsong I suspect. Though 60% claimed in the census to be of the christian faith surely a good deal (in fact most given church attendance rates) of these are non regular church goers that believe actions speak louder than words, unlike the leaders and many followers in the hillsong crowd whom many consider a entirely different religion to christianity (believe me they are loud, on youth holiday camp 11 km from us, partly over water, it was still deafening and the police stopped them when it continued after midnight perhaps that is why they chose a industrial zone for their main church.

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