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.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Letters to the Editor
Readers write and respond to the April issue.
RecommendedThe Favorite Bible Verses of 88 Nations
The Favorite Bible Verses of 88 Nations
Israel and Afghanistan favor the same verse. So do Italy and Saudi Arabia.
TrendingThe Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
The Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
What Paula White’s Washington moment implies for the prosperity gospel’s future.
Editor's PickThe Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
The Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
It begins by recognizing the name above every name.
%%var.bookTitle%%
Popcultured: Thinking Christianly About Style, Media and Entertainment
IVP Books
2013-07-11
254 pp., $14.48
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.