Modern Culture, Entertainment,
& The New Atheism
2010 Eagle River Institute Presentation
Dr. John Mark Reynolds
Purchase this CD set, Modern Culture, by
and get, Orthopraxy, the 2009 ERI CD album of
Rod Dryer at
1/2 o f f !
These two talks
from two years of ERI compliment each other.
They will make great
listening and give you some good thinking material.
"Here are some of my notes from the talks. This was a very
interesting lecture. No one dozed off! And when each talk was over,
people began to talk about what they heard. Dr Reynolds is a captivating
speaker. And what he has to say is based on years of observation and
discussion. He is not a light weight speaker After you listen you will
want to pass this on to others!" Don Lourie
1 & 2 Secularism and the New Atheism
Excessive entertainment is leading to the New
3 & 4 The Cult of Youth
Peter Pan is not the hero
5 & 6 A Culture of Change and Unchanging Culture
The Advantages of Wonder over Skepticism
7 & 8 Beauty as an Apologetic
True Beauty is God's way of leading us to Himself.
Note: MP3-CD contains all talks on one CD as MP3 audio files.
Secularism and the New Atheism
never has been a golden age. Every culture has its problems and virtues.
- We are just muddling through. Cultures do not die slowly. May collapse
in a single decade. The ignored cultural vises will kill us.
- What will kill our culture? The roots of our cultures death are already
here and are growing at a pandemic pace. America and the West is heading
towards atheism. The New Atheism is already here and part of our
culture. It is in our schools, our commercial ventures and especially in
- The greatest problem in our culture is boredom. “Not being entertained”
- With entertainment there is a law of diminishing rewards. The more
entertained the less we can enjoy the time so more time is spent on
entertainment or it gets more graphic or violent.
- Our present day children are being amused to death. The average
American views 5 hours of television every day. Over 1 hour a day leads
to over stimulation. Now we also have the internet, movies, sophisticated
telephones. Some are entertained by shopping and sports.
- The more entertainment a person experiences, the less real emotion he
can have. Real music and real conversation is much better than recorded
music and telephone talks.
- Oscar Wilde wrote “The Importance of Being Ernest” One hundred years
ago, only the very rich could afford endless entertainment. Now it is
available even for the poor. So all this boredom and entertainment leads
to a less productive society. This leads to the desire for entertainment
in every facet of our lives, including our church services.
The Cult of Youth
- Boredom and love of entertainment lead to a degrading of hard work
and delayed gratification. As children grow to adulthood, one of the
major signs of maturity is delayed gratification. But since our
culture runs on entertainment, the sense of “I want to be happy now”
pervades our work, our relationships and our beliefs. “Why be chaste
now when we can have fun now.” Adults are still acting like children,
so they expect to be entertained in work, at school and at church. "If
I don't have fun at church I will find a new church that can do
entertainment better. "
- Since no one wants to grow up, marketing and sales are pitched
toward the youth and even people in their 40's and 50's try to think as
young people to prolong this cult of youth.
A Culture of Change and an Unchanging Culture
- True love is just. The laws in America are written to treat
everyone fairly. But being fair may not be just. True justice can only
be dispensed by true love. God loves us perfectly and can therefore
judge us perfectly. No man or society who treats all men the same can
be truly just or loving.
- If one is always wary of others in their treatment of my person and
actions, I will never be able to them or treat them as God treats them.
- Christianity loves individuals, not mankind.
- Skepticism of others motives and desires leads to mistrust of others.
Skepticism of the supernatural world and of God's creation leads to a
demeaning of the natural order and gives rise to a false science.
- God has created us to wonder and hope for better things. God gives us
the stars and the natural world to increase our sense of wonder and
increase our thirst for more knowledge of the creator. This leads to
more wonder and a purity of heart which then allows each person want to
be good and love god and those one knows.
- But a culture of boredom and skepticism leads to a diminished view of
nature and other humans. It leads to atheism.
Beauty as an Apologetic
- There are two basic ways of looking at most all things, ideas and
truths. One is objectivity, the idea that things are true whether one
believe it to be or not. The second is subjectivity, which depends on
the mental state of the person.
- Our culture has confused objectivity and subjectivity to the point that
even beauty is now a controversial subject. This loss of objectivity is
ruining our culture. So that now those who think they must be
entertained to prevent boredom no longer believe in the objective or
true values of morality, goodness, and natural beauty.
- True beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. It may have been
400 years ago but today the idea of beauty is used to manipulate the
marketing engines of Madison Avenue and influences how our sports teams
are supported and even how our church services are attended.
- The new beauty in today's American culture is what someone who wants
to influence your buying habits wants us to think is attractive. Yet God
has commanded us to desire His beauty and to order our lives and
surroundings according to His beauty.
- This sense of wonder and knowing of God's ways will lead us to
love true beauty and to love other people as God does. It will lead to
a true sense of justice and a true desire that those we know will come
to know this infinite God and His creation. Our sense of having to
work to improve our lives and that of others will replace that of
boredom and the need for entertainment. This will lead us to
appreciate the true work of Christ in our Salvation and the salvation
of our friends.
Copyright © 2011 [Orthodox Christian Cassettes, Inc.] All
Revised: January 11, 2011.