POPULAR MUSIC TODAY
(A Flood of Degrading Music)
These comments relate to a blog posted by my son Jim, in which he discussed the immoral nature of much of the pop music being listened to in Mexico, where he and his wife Shari serve as missionaries. It was a revealing analysis. And from my awareness of the United States and Canada, I’d say that our popular music is at least as bad, possibly worse. Day by day it seems to reach new lows in vulgarity and the glorification of immorality.
Being an old guy, I can remember the early days of television in the 1950's. I vividly recall a performer being caught be surprise--a sudden fright--and using (I think) the words "O my God!"–then, apologizing to the viewing audience for her improper language! Now...! (Need I say more?)
And I can remember the fuss made about Elvis Presley. On television, on at least one occasion, only his face and upper body were allowed on camera, because his sensual wiggle was considered indecent. Now, many laugh at how “narrow” we were in those days, and how harmless it all was. But, of course, it wasn’t.
The Bible says, “In the last days perilous times will come. For men [i.e. human beings] will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God....Evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:1-4, 13). I could hardly come up with a better description of today’s pop music scene!
The Greek for "worse and worse" is, literally, advance in the direction of worse! And this continuing degradation of sinners in the last days will be accompanied by self deception. "Professing themselves to be wise, they [become] fools" (Rom. 1:22). And they will deceive many others with their cunning arguments, leading them further astray.
There is a fallacious argument you perhaps have heard: that history is cyclical, rather than linear. That similar things keep happening again and again. That is true to some extent, but with important reservations. If something was condemned as bad a century ago, and it's now considered acceptable, does that mean that something condemned ten years ago and now accepted is precisely the same thing? No, it doesn't.
We are reminded that, in the nineteenth century, many felt that waltzes were immoral. Now, hardly anyone thinks that. In the mid-twentieth century, Elvis and his ilk were labeled the same way. Now, they're fine with most folks. Today, some make a fuss about contemporary pop music, but soon it too will be broadly accepted. Supposedly, it’s all the same, round and round. The problem with that argument is that it's not true.
History does not simply repeat itself over and over. The “worse and worse” of Paul’s warning to Timothy is coming to pass. If there is a repetitious cycle at work, it can more accurately be described as a downward spiral. That is how the world, the flesh and the devil conspire to drive society ever downward (cf. Jer. 26; 16:12; Ezek. 16:47; Hos. 13:2).
In practical terms, something happened in the 1950's with the early rockers that had never happened before. The new music was marketed to teens as uniquely their own music. Before that, popular music was much more cross-generational. But for the past 60 years young people have been fed a most seductive line of propaganda: “This is yours; you need this. Don’t let the adults take it away from you. They don’t really understand you.”
There are echoes here of the devil’s lie in Eden (Gen. 3:4-5). It has been his argument from the beginning that somehow the Lord is holding out on us. That He could have been more generous to us. But if we'll but seize what is our "right," we'll become like gods ourselves, captains of our own destiny. And the lie's corrosion is eating away at the souls of our youth. It will doom many to eternal destruction.
How we need, as parents, and as leaders in local churches, to teach our children and young people to be discerning in this area, and teach them to have an appreciation for the best music.