Political correctness, in it’s,”Decadent stage “

 

Steven  Pinker is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologist as well as a  linguist, and popular science author.  He is Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University.

He is also a Humanist—- which I am not—however,  Pinker is an interesting study because when it comes to the subject of   “political correctness”,   he is very much on the mark with most of my Evangelical brothers and sisters and he feels free to speak on such  subjects because he is also a defender of ,  “free speech”.

That means that he is willing to debate.  If anything needs to happen among the  educated and  those in educating circles it is debate. It used to be the norm in higher education but misguided agendas seek to strip it all away.

He so rightly acknowledges,

“Political correctness started out with good aims and achieved much good in the early stages of the movement in its attempt at eliminating demeaning remarks and  unacceptable discriminatory policies.”

And I agree with Pinker.  I was very glad as young student in school in the 70’s and 80’s  to see students of all races and then special needs and handicapped students  recognized as  the valuable human beings that they are in society.   “Do not use  labels and do not ostracize” was the idea.

But then, and I saw it happen, over time, the political correct ideology began to get weird. We all  did didn’t we?

But Pinker sees it too and  goes on  in his talk to expose the current over reaching agenda of “Political Correctness”, stating …

“Often movements reach their decadent phase, where having achieved the majority of their goals they don’t go out of business but they need to find increasingly obscure grievances and causes to maintain their moral franchise and I suspect that’s what happened to what we now call political correctness, many aspects of which which in their original and moderate form were completely reasonable. “

This is where we find ourselves now. Where the “Politically Correct movement needs to find ” increasingly obscure grievances and causes to maintain their moral franchise”.

Where ever increasing obscure and “micro” aspects of thought, conversation and values are “politically incorrect” and  are” labeled” causing harm.

Has  “Political Correctness” itself become a bully?   I think so.

There are so many areas where I and many of  you, my Christian brothers and sisters would disagree with Pinker…. but to His credit and to those like Him, I do pray that voices like his continue to press back against the tide of ridiculous and unintelligent unfounded movements that seek to treat the free marketplace of ideas in such a “Politically in-correct way”.

Remember the Apostle Paul in the Agora (marketplace) of Corinth?

Men of that day in that place were allowed to speak and think in openness and frankness.

May that continue.

Blessings.

 

 

Oh the Value of a bible in your hand!!!

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Technology is moving at the speed of light.  The common thumb-drive that fits in your pocket can potentially hold more information than the original NASA computers that were involved in the moon landing. Yes a thumb-drive!!

Your cell phone is way, way beyond that!!!

Technology is a great tool, it can be used in so many ways and the applications are virtually endless. Technology is very useful.

But I am going to raise an issue here that will sound very “Old School” and in fact it is, “Old School”.

The issue stems from a strong conviction that was ingrained into me during my Theological Schooling and in particular my Preaching (elocution) classes.

It was taught to us, that when  you are going to preach, you must enter the pulpit “Carrying your Bible”  and then you are to place that bible deliberately on the pulpit in an attitude and gesture of reverence.  Then you were to pray over it then read from its pages.

To that picture, let me add the words of a Pastor whose ministry I sat under for some time.  This pastor told me, “When you preach, STAND BEHIND THE WORD”.

“When you read the passage …”, I was told, “ …pick it up off the pulpit, hold it in your hands and show where it comes from”    ( Thus teaching them how to read it)

In other words, this is not about you, it is about God, His word and what He has to say to “US” today.

So what does this have to do with tech?

When that Bible is placed on the pulpit everyone knows its function, its power, its purpose and if we are “standing behind it” as a teacher or preacher we will know its application too and will be able to convey it.

If I carry my laptop, tablet or whatever into the pulpit, it is a common thing in my hand, often used for common purposes.  It just cannot convey the same singularity of focus and expectation required for a very uncommon and eternal message.

Oh sure you can preach a fine sermon, a very biblical sermon in fact from a tech screen.

But…

The value of a bible in your hand is beyond measure, not only for preaching but for your personal time with the Lord.

The only “call” that you will receive or “text” you will be presented with will come from God Himself, with a Bible in your hand.

Don’t get me wrong I have a bible app on my phone and top notch Bible study software on my lap-top.     But oh… there is nothing like a bible in your hand!!!

Oh, the feel of it when opening it up; the deliberate turning off of distractions to focus on it. The turning of the pages , back and forth. It catches your tears when they fall on the page, the pages crease when you grip it in frustration over passages you struggle over or in times of coming to grips with conviction.

There is nothing like the value of a Bible in your hand.

 

Thinking Critically

Have you ever been in the middle of watching a news program, sitting in a classroom  or (been caught up in an infomercial) and suddenly thought ,” Wait a minute, what am I being fed here? I am not  just being informed but  subtly told how I should think, feel, and react to the information being presented”.

With the infomercial we catch on pretty quick ( but it’s so tempting to believe that we too could have those rock hard abs in just 4 weeks with only 30 seconds a day of the ” Ab-maestro”).  We want the abs, they want our money, usually in just 27 easy payments of  $14 (plus shipping and handling).

But who really goes for that stuff anyway?  Actually,enough people buy that stuff to allow the seller to pay for hour-long commercials.  Yeah.

We may have little respect for the authority of the infomercial but when we have a person in a trusted  position of authority on our television, such as a news anchor person, a  popular talk show host,  or a beloved teacher in a classroom, our tendency is to accept  what we are hearing somewhat uncritically. In  all of these situations we are lead in a particular direction or to come to a particular conclusion. That’s how we become informed positively (or misinformed).

Often we are told what to believe or what to accept. It is always subtle and we end up  buying not only into the news facts but the bias presentation of  the news story. The background banter between the anchor and co-anchor as they shake their head or nod to one another in approval to the stories developments or outcome.   We are expected to swallow more than  the facts we are expected to agree with the presentation itself , after all, the people presenting the bias are authority figures, they carry weight, they reflect the “proper opinion” don’t they?

Persuasion is a  good teaching tool but critical thinking looks past the apparatus to weigh the facts , sometimes to bring those facts in contact with other facts left out of the argument and to simmer those facts together to find critical truth.

Think about the most controversial subjects (Rights of the unborn vs pro-choice or, intelligent design verses evolutionary theory)  we are told what opinion is politically correct , all through  the presentation of facts, and  our little boat is pushed out onto the waters of society adrift along with others and floating on popular opinion. This creates societal peer pressure. In fact these are almost of no controversy anymore due to the continued political correct agenda of the presentation of news media.

Teachers will be marking your paper. Now there’s incentive to tell them what they want to hear. If it is a paper written on a controversial subject like rights of the unborn vs pro-choice . You can bet the pressure will to be to toe the line and weight the discussion to the popular opinion. ( Would an ethics class even consider this topic?) I wonder.

Or try postulating the concept of Intelligent design in a classroom exploring the theory of origins and evolutionary theory.

It is a theory isn’t it?  yet there is no other postulation to be brought to the table?  I mean stuff to make you think!!!

Think about the effect that political correctness has had on the exchange ideas in the public forum. In the space of  one single generation people  have made a 180 degree turn on some  the major issues of life and world-view.

We are not to be conspiracy theorists and we may have to be careful about what we say to whom ,or we will have no voice at all, but certainly we posses our own mind and with this amazing mind we have a tremendous capacity to think critically and to own what we believe and not just be drifting along with no purpose and no well thought out world view and conviction on important issues.

So watch the news, ( maybe turn off the infomercials and the talk-show host) and hear your teachers but own you mind and own your convictions don’t give them away to the world.