are we dumbing down unnecessarily?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by nodak, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. nodak

    nodak
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    Seems like every time I visit a "Christian" web site I read that we have to use easier to read Bibles (I'm not KJVO). KJV,NKJV, NASB, ESV are blasted with the line "we can't all read at 8th grade or above."

    We have to use songs with little words and without archaic terms since no one can understand the big words. Who knows what "How Great Thou Art" even means anyway?

    We cannot use hymnals since finding the song by using the song number is too intellectually challenging for most folks.

    We cannot expect to present the gospel using logic and cause and effect. That means no Romans Road or plan of salvation. Instead we must appeal to feelings and lead them to "feel loved and feel the presence of Christ."

    The lost in a town may talk, dress, look, and act like refugees from the nether world. We "need" to imitate them in order to reach them.

    Of course, we find this dumbing down in the secular world also--like warnings on containers of milk that this product contains-----milk.

    People sign contracts without making any effort to read it, then complain when they are held to it. (Yeah, I know about difficult legalese, but I mean perhaps a simple rental agreement for a power tool.)

    Coming from a time when part of what was acceptable was the idea it was a good thing to tackle the "hard stuff" and when it was expected that the church would help in lifting folks to a higher plane all around, my question is two fold:


    1. Are people really getting, well, less intelligent and less educated overall?

    2. If so, are we guilty of encouraging that when we dumb down?
     
  2. Crabtownboy

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    The short answer is "yes" we are dumbing down unnecessarily.
     
  3. abcgrad94

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    Yes.

    We just started a Bible study in Isaiah for our Sunday school. You should hear the moaning and complaining that the old testament, especially the "prophet" books, are too difficult to read and understand. "It's over my head" is a phrase we're hearing over and over.

    My reply to a woman at church who constantly says this is that God gave it to us in his word for a reason, and it's our job to study and find out what we are to learn from it.:BangHead:

    People are lazy and want to be spoon fed, without applying their brains. We're so used to being zombies in front of the tv screen, we've learned to put our brains to sleep and let other people think for us. It's dangerous and it's a sin NOT to apply ourselves to learning.
     
  4. preachinjesus

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    Absolutely.

    While we need to make sure to present the Gospel and our services in language that all can understand, it doesn't mean we shift to the lowest common denominator at all points. Christianity is the most intellectually rigorous belief system out there, we need to appreciate that and celebrate it.
     
  5. freeatlast

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    Yes and it is certainly a sad thing to see. Even a greater tragedy is that many pastors today would agree with your assessment but they do nothing to correct it. In the church that I am currently attending I get to speak with the Pastor about issues from time to time. In his speaking to me he is very conservative and will literally say so from the pulpit, but in his preaching he never confronts the issues of today with clear biblical teaching. I am afraid he is not alone at least in a 50 mile radius of where I live.
    It is not enough to simply understand the problems today. Those in a place of teaching need also to speak to the issues from the word of God as their authority. When was the last time you heard a message preaching against divorce or remarrying after divorce? I am not talking about the political issues of this nation or the world, but the issues involving salvation and godliness. Many people want Christ the Saviour, but not Christ the Lord and Master. However the bible only offers Him as Lord and Saviour, not just as Saviour.
    We also are growing up christians (small "c") that have a Burger King mentality (I want it my way). Heavy on grace and little if any on godliness. This sadly runs rampant though the churches even in the leadership. Where I am attending it is nothing to hear a deacon using profanity even on Sunday morning (nothing strong and not all of them, but still) or bragging about their sin. Last week I heard how one was telling how much money he made in an illegal venture some years ago and how he used it to pay for his daughter wedding $20,000. He said it openly so I confronted him openly (right then) and he felt I was a legalist. There was several other deacons present and no one else spoke up. It was rooster fighting and he felt that it was his right and not sin since the rooster did it naturally and his daddy did it before him and certainly he was a good man.(he is not doing it today, but the problem is he has while claiming to be a Christian.)
    So yes we are destroying the truth with dumbed down teachings and I believe that we will give an account for it.
     
    #5 freeatlast, Nov 2, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2010
  6. jaigner

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    Yes.

    But we do need to make sure that we explain the inclusiveness of the gospel by using clear and concise language.

    The problem comes when we do not extend an offer into anything. If we "dumb down" far enough, we eventually do not affirm anything distinctive about Christianity.

    And more people than you'd think are looking for "otherness," something different, connecting them to the historic Christian tradition. In some cases, "traditional" worship is making a comeback because of this.
     
  7. annsni

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    ARG!!!! How frustrating is that????

    I do think that so many are dumbing things down and that's something we're working against in our church. While our new church is kind of gearing towards the new believer and the unchurched, we're teaching the congregation how to mature. What does the Bible say? How do we use our Bible? Things like that. We had out Bibles for people to keep and we'll put the page number on the screen for those who have those Bibles to be able to find the passage but we don't put the passage on the screen because we want them to start using and becoming familiar with their Bibles.

    But it's sad when things are dumbed down so much that it's indistinguishable from the world. I just watched a funny/sad video with quotes and you were to guess if the quote was from Joel Osteen or a fortune cookie. What was sad was that it could totally go either way in most of the quotes. :(
     
  8. Salty

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    You asked a lot of questions, - but as far as hymn books, I don't think its a matter of dumbing down. I would say its a matter of expense. Songbooks costs lots of dollars - and easily destroyed - ie kids coloring, ripped, ect. But using overhead or power point, can be cheaper even with paying the rights fee.
    With song books, the only dumbing down would be most people probably don't know how to read music anyways.
     
  9. jaigner

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    It's symbolic of a lack of literacy and tradition. When you hold a hymnal in your hand, it adds the element of touch to the spiritual act of corporate worship.
     
  10. Jon-Marc

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    Instead of expecting people to educate themselves, we dumb down the scriptures and everything else to their low level of education--or lack of one. Instead of properly saying, "I have not experienced a single hurricane since I've been in Florida", many would say something like, "I ain't never experienced no hurricane since I been in Florida." What on earth does that mean?

    People use "woulda", "coulda", and "shoulda" in place of "would have", "could have", and "should have". Double and triple negatives are quite common, and, of course, many are unable to talk at all without a LOT of profanity to fill in where their vocabulary is lacking. Without the profanity, their vocabulary would be very limited.

    It's no wonder that millions of adults can't read of write in this country alone.
     
  11. nodak

    nodak
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    Salty--yes, I know using the screen saves money IF you are changing the singing very often. I was referring to sites that specifically teach people as unable to find the song in the hymnbook.

    Of course, in saving money just putting the words on the screen you are not teaching people how to read music. Or sing harmony.

    And then of course we run out of musicians and have to use worship cd's.

    freeatlast, I hear you! I honestly cannot remember the last time I heard a preacher get specific about such sins as you mention, about shacking up, about being dishonest in business, or in our meth ridden town about not taking care of the temple of the Holy Spirit.

    Instead we are more likely to hear sermons stressing that we shouldn't be judging.

    If you mean judging people, I would agree the scripture forbids it.

    If you mean judging actions, I would submit the scripture commands it.

    My daughter teaches school, and we talk often about how schools have changed.

    I'm wondering if churches are maybe guilty of neglecting to teach.

    Now, Noah wasn't off the ark long I guess when I was a kid, but all we had were KJV. I am not promoting KJV only, just saying all we had were hard to read Bibles. By second grade you were expected to bring one to church and to read it in SS--out loud. Now, of course we did not know all the words and comprehended even less. The teacher would help us sound out the hard words and then explain the passage. And we learned. Most of us graduated high school and most of us read on grade level when we did.

    I also remember that when the NIV came out folks were glad for an easier reading version...at least in my area the 20-30 somethings were glad.

    Now the 20-30 somethings complain that the NIV is soooooo hard to read.

    And all this has gotten me to thinking that just maybe if we went back to a clear difference between being "in the church" and being "in the world" complete with helping lift up those coming into the church from the world we might make a heap more difference in that world.
     
  12. Salty

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    Even AWANA has dumbed down it books. As a kid, I had to learn the books of the Old Testament and recite them in one sitting. And our pastor, (my Awana leader) would not accept anything less than perfection! though the official Awana program would allow 2 helps per section. Also, in one rank there were passages of some 10-15 verse to be recited in one sitting :applause:

    Now days - the OT is to be recited in 2, or possibly 3 different sections. Also, there are less verses to
    learn per section.
    My oh my :tear:
     
  13. Jon-Marc

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    A pastor told me that the average reading level in this country is at the 5th grade. If that is true, it's no wonder people find the old King James (which I prefer) to be difficult to read.
     
  14. preachinjesus

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    The KJV isn't hard to read because of the lower reading ability of the common person, its hard to read because its over 150 years old.

    It uses vernacular and constructions that are just not part of common language. (This isn't a knock on the KJV, it is a masterpiece of 19th century literature)

    I'm a pretty educated guy and there are still places where I have to look up alternate translations to get what the KJV is trying to communicate.
     
  15. Steven2006

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    Our country has been dumbing down for years. Why is it a surprise that many local churches do the same.
     
  16. Onlybygrace

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    Some very astute observations by the OP. I have to agree as an ex-primary school teacher, we certainly are dumbing down. I regard it as a consequence of sin and interestingly enough, an anti-evolutionary argument. We are obviously not evolving but devolving. As man seeks to exalt his intellect in insolation from the acknowlegement and authority of God, even though we appear to be becoming more advanced we are in fact becoming more stupid on a daily basis. We use technology as a smoke screeen for a lack of intelligence. Could this be a result of the fall?
     
  17. dh1948

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    In all due respect, that's a new one on me.
     
  18. Luke2427

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    Yes on both accounts. And a very good thread.

    The lower we set the standards the less people are going to stretch to reach them.

    It is a crying shame, I mean a CRYING shame, that we cannot sing Isaac Watts songs, some of the greatest hymns of all time, in our churches because our people are too stupid to understand them and too intellectually lazy to try.

    But this did not start with contemporary music. It started with the junk that poured into our churches in the 30's-70's with, "Mansion over the hill top" and "I'm in a new world" and a host of other shallow mess that I canoot seem to dredge up right now.
     
  19. annsni

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    I know it's going off topic but I've never heard the argument that hymns are too hard to sing or understand and that's why we don't use them. For us, there are wonderful new worship songs to mix in with the old hymns (the good ones) because of our heart of worship to the Lord. It has nothing to do with intellect.
     
  20. Luke2427

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    I like plenty of new praise and worship myself. We do plenty of it in my church.

    But to throw away (by the stoppage of singing them) the old great hymns is a terrible mistake.

    I don't know of many new praise songs that rival "All Creatures of our God and King" and "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" in rich and christocentric praise.
     

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