Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas 3 / Doctrine and Song

There is so much that comes across our Facebook stream.  Unfortunately, a good chunk of it is quite unsettling.

A certain post dealt with the Syrian boys who had been incorporated into the school system controlled by ISIS.  These children were subjected to about six hours of teaching in Sharia per day--three hours in the morning, three hours in the evening.  They were also trained in beheading.  (Or was that another story.  No, I think that was the same boys.)  The more stupid ones were pre-selected for becoming suicide bombers.  In any case, some of them were able to get out of the school and could return to their homes.

At home, they could not shake the Sharia teaching.  They harassed their mothers about showing bare arms, for example.  The nagged their fathers into praying five times a day.  And most annoyingly, they kept on singing the indoctrinating songs.

Music is banned under the law, but it seems that ISIS is making exception for itself.  Music is an integral part of the propaganda of the movement.  Yes, who can shake the songs they sang to us when we were young and that they had us memorize.

All of this, made me think of an  on-line conversation I had with someone promoting "liberal education" whatever that exactly means.  One thing it means is that there should not be any doctrine or indoctrination.  We should be figuring things out for ourselves and speak our own minds.  To that person, I once said, that he does not like anything of the things that "ground" me;  that is I am not permitted to hold doctrine or speak about it in a historical sense (it might be ok, if I had just figured it out for myself, in a fresh way), nor is singing, or especially choir singing, anything terribly worthwhile.  Or music, in general, maybe, is relatively useless.  I don't know.  I don't know what he is saying, sometimes, and he wants it that way.  The more ambiguous he is, the more I have to think for myself.  That's the idea.

But, doctrine and music comes down to us.  It becomes part of our fabric, part of the brain, neural pathways laid down early and well cemented, nearly impossible to uproot.  It is unavoidable.  Doctrine and song, it can't be bad in itself.  We all have it.  Even the one with the liberal education philosophy can't escape it, though he may be blind to it or may try to push it aside.

The "process" for free thinking may involve stepping back and looking at how your views came to you.  It may involve re-evaluation, adjustment, discarding, combining, renewing...  With all this, it is the contents of the doctrine and the music is what matters.  Is it right doctrine?  Is it teaching and propaganda for good or for evil?  How do you define good and evil? --  If you would not want it to happen to you, you also don't do it to another.

Would you want to be beheaded for your faith?  No?  Then don't behead others.  Do you really want to injure your conscience in this way? -- If only the stupid ones are sorted out for suicide bombing, would you really like to be a suicide bomber?  If it is such a prize to be martyred why don't you select those who are most dear to you and those who are the smartest for this honor?

We could go on.  Doctrine is fine.  Song is fine.  Indoctrination is fine.

Let it be the right kind.

Let it be Christ-centered.

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