Guest / Limited Access /
Reviews

/

It's the Thoughts That Count

The secular world rarely considers the effect of popular culture on our thoughts. The only time it shows concern for the thought life is … when someone becomes a racist through being exposed to racist literature, or a killer mimics a scene from a violent film. The Bible presents the different idea that what we think is judged alongside what we do. It's possible to keep the law and yet have an immoral mind. Our thoughts are as much a part of our moral character as our actions. …

Often people will defend unsavory entertainment because they say it hasn't led them to do anything bad, but this doesn't take into account the content of their minds. We can remain meek and mild yet have a brain swirling with the most poisonous images. When Jimmy Carter was running for U.S. president in 1976, he gave an interview to Playboy in which he was asked whether he had committed adultery. In his answer he said that he had committed adultery many times in his heart. The secular media scoffed at this because it hardly seemed like a moral infringement, but Carter was of course picking up on a Bible truth that it's possible to commit sins in the privacy of our heads; sins known only to God. …

Christians sometimes expose themselves to dangerous stuff just to show how resilient they are. It's the spiritual equivalent of tightening your six-pack and challenging someone to deliver a swift punch: "See! It didn't hurt." But we can't always tell at the time how things will affect us in the long term. Images we saw decades ago can rise to the surface of our consciousness without us being aware of where they came from. The biblical proverb asks,

Can a man scoop fire into his lap without ...
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only New & Noteworthy Books
Compiled by Matt Reynolds
RecommendedRemembering Prince: A Pop Music Priest in a Secular World
Remembering Prince: A Pop Music Priest in a Secular World
He seemed to defy mortal boundaries, but in fact, he showed us the glory of simply being made in God's image.
TrendingChristians Can Hold Their Bladders and Still Shop at Target
Christians Can Hold Their Bladders and Still Shop at Target
Consider the missional implications before you boycott.
Editor's PickReading Esther in the Shadow of ISIS
Reading Esther in the Shadow of ISIS
A Jewish philosopher’s perspective on how God delivers his people from radical evil.
%%var.bookTitle%%
Popcultured: Thinking Christianly About Style, Media and Entertainment
IVP Books
2013-07-11
254 pp., $15.02
Buy %%var.bookTitle%% from Amazon
Christianity Today
It's the Thoughts That Count
hide thisJune June

In the Magazine

June 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.