Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Is music in itself amoral?

An email conversation led me to consider the question, is music itself amoral. Is it morally neutral in and of itself?

In order to be amoral, music must be inherently neither good (righteous) nor bad (the absence or opposite of good).

Clearly the use of music is far from amoral, it can be used to praise God, and it can be used to mock, criticize, and drive people from Him. So, music can certainly be used for good or for bad.

I believe that you cannot separate something from it's use, especially an activity. Wielding a weapon can be used for good and for bad, and thus, I believe, is not amoral. Writing, speaking, art, theater, all these can be good or bad, they are not only used for good or ill, they are themselves good or bad.

Proverbs 8:13 says:

To fear the LORD is to hate evil;
I hate pride and arrogance,
evil behavior and perverse speech.

How can speech be perverse if it is not bad? How can behavior be amoral if it is evil?

We are actually commanded to make music, to sing praises to the Lord. A few scriptures that show this:

Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! -Psalm 32:11

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord - Ephesians 5:19

Thus, music can be good. I don't mean good as in “nice,” but good as in fulfilling God's perfect will. How can something that we are commanded to do be neutral? Music that builds up, brings praise to God, and edifies the saints is good; it not just used for good, but it is good.

However, anything in this fallen world that can be good, can also be bad. Speech that is full of sinful messages is not only being used for evil, it is itself bad. Speech can be good or it can be bad, songs are the same way. Music that is full of profanity, drugs, and sin is not just being used for evil, it is itself bad.

Basically, you cannot separate an activity from its purpose. An activity with an evil end is itself bad. An activity with an end that glorifies God is itself good. Therefore, music is itself either good or bad, and is not amoral.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Old Fashioned Entrance Exam

The following is reputed to be the test that a potential employee had to take in order to work at Hewlet Packard:

Instructions: Read each question carefully. Answer all questions.

Time limit – 4 hours. Begin immediately.


Describe the history of the papacy from its origins to the present day, concentrating especially, but not exclusively, on its social, political, economic, religious, and philosophical impact on Europe, Asia, America, and Africa. Be brief, concise and specific.


You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze, and a bottle of Scotch. Remove your appendix. Do not suture until your work has been inspected. You have fifteen minutes.


2,500 riot-crazed aborigines are storming the classroom. Calm them. You may use any ancient language except Latin or Greek.


Create life. Estimate the difference in subsequent human culture if this form of life had developed 500 million years earlier, with special attention to its probably effect on the English parliamentary system. Prove your thesis.


Write a piano concerto. Orchestrate and perform it with flute and drum. You will find a piano under your seat.


Based on your knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability, degree of adjustment, and repressed frustrations of each of the following: Alexander of Aphrodisias, Ramese II, Gregory of Nicea, Humorabi; support you evaluation with quotations from each man's work, making appropriate references. It is not necessary to translate.


Estimate the sociological problems which might accompany the end of the world. Construct an experiment to test your theory.

MANGEMENT SCIENCE: Define Management. Define Science. How do they relate? Why? Create a generalized algorithm to optimize all managerial decisions. Assuming an 1130 CPU supporting 50 terminals, each terminal to activate your algorithm; design the communications interface and all necessary control programs.


The disassembled parts of a high powered rifle have been placed in a box on your desk. You will also find an instruction manual, printed in Swahili. In ten minutes a hungry Bangal tiger will be admitted to the room. Take whatever action you feel appropriate. Be prepared to justify your decision.


Develop a realistic plan for refinancing the national debt. Trace the possible effects of your plan in the following areas: Cubism, the Donatist controversy, the wave theory of light. Outline a method for preventing these effects. Criticize this method from all possible points of view. Point out the deficiencies in your point of view, as demonstrated in your answer to the last question.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

What really matters?

American society attaches value so many things that are completely meaningless. With so much emphasis on possessions, security, power, and comfort, I really believe that we have lost sight of what is is really important. We as Christians are not called to simply go to church and learn, we are called to be salt and light. Truly, faith without works is dead. Why is it then, that so many American Christians are content to simply go to church and maybe support a few “missionaries” with their money? It really seems to me that American Christians have lost sight of what really matters.

Paul describes how we, as Christians must arm ourselves with the “full armor of God.” What use is armor when we do not fight? Christians who simply are do not effect the world as we should. Those who only believe, and yet never act on that belief do not really fight in the great cosmic battle continually raging around us. Watching and cheering for your side in the battle does not help your side win, we must take up and use the Armor of God.

What great joy it is to know that you are saved, that you can truly trust in and rely on God to save you from the wrath you deserve. Why do we not boldly proclaim this joy from every street corner? If God is for us, who can stand against us? How can the truth be spread without Christians spreading it? The great commission to go and make disciples of all nations was not given only to missionaries and does not apply only to other nations. If even a fraction of American Christians would boldly and lovingly fight for the Truth that is the Word of God, our country would be a beacon of light unrivaled in the world.

I would challenge all those who call themselves Christians to ask yourselves if you really live like one. Do you strive continually to be a light to the world? Do you walk continually with God? Do you live like you are the salt of the earth? Do you do all you can to disciple the nation that is all around you?

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Many in the media and the political left have declared that the recent change of power in the Senate and House of Representatives shows that the American people want change. Clearly, this is the case, however, change should never be an end.

American politics have an oscillating quality; we almost always going back and forth between two parties. When we are disgusted of corrupt politicians, we demand change, and put the other guys in charge. We do not demand improvement, we do not demand integrity, we simply demand change. Oscillating between two groups of politicians will never solve the problem, it will only lead to a downward spiral. We don't just need change, we need strong, Christian leadership. We need to elect men who will stand for what is right, never compromising. We need to demand, not change, but improvement. The end we seek is not change, the end we seek is leaders who are Statesman, not Politicians; change is the means to this end.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Faith of a Child

This semester has shown me some difficult things about myself. I have really seen that I have not been depending on God, but on myself. While praying and struggling with the load I have taken on myself, God showed me that this is why I have been under so much stress, and had difficulty coping with the workload. In His grace, He showed me a picture of what it means to depend on Him, what it means to have the faith of a child.

Jesus said that we must be like children to enter into the Kingdom of God. As I prayed about how I can totally depend on and trust in God to sustain me, I thought of how a little child walks with his father. The child will not worry about food, clothing or shelter, he will not worry about the dangers that lie in the path ahead, where that path leads, or the tasks that must be done on that path. The child does not worry, because he trusts completely in his father, with whom he walks hand in hand.

In Galatians 4 Paul talks about the difference between serving God as a slave, and as a son. I would challenge you to honestly ask, how are you serving God? How are you walking with God? Are you walking with the faith of a son trusting in your Heavenly Father? It is a great encouragement to walk as a son, hand in hand with your Heavenly Father, for what have you to fear when your Father walks beside you?

My Father Walks Beside Me

The path is dark

the way grows dim

I know not where I go

But what have I to fear?

My Father walks beside me

Trials come

and dangers rise

it seems there is no hope

But what have I to fear?

My Father walks beside me

The scoffer mocks

the enemy sneers

I am despised and hated

But what have I to fear?

My Father walks beside me

My hand in His

our strides are matched

His arm around my shoulders

What have I to fear?

My Father walks beside me

I pray that you who read this will really consider your walk with God; do you walk as a son, or a slave?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Fowlstien Letters, Letter 2

August 1, 1953

To the Board of Trustees,


I am worried by the lack of interest that your organization has shown in my recent discoveries. Perhaps if you give my proposal further consideration, you will see the necessity of continuing with another expedition.

After my first expedition to Austria and the discovery of Swooprren's tomb, I made another trip to the same area to further explore those mountains. This time we uncovered a repository of miniature scrolls. On these was written the same language as that found on the tomb. Among these writings, I found a history of one of the greatest empires of Chickentopia, the great Empire of Sebright. This Empire stretched from the mountains of what is now Austria all the way to southern France and even included much of modern Germany. The record of this empire is one of intrigue and betrayal, war and conquest.

Sebright was the name of a town on the Danube river, the inhabitants of which were known for their valor in combat. This town's rise to greatness is best told in the writings of Poulticus, a monk in the order of the Comb. I have translated and included a portion of his work, describing Sebright's first, great leader: Basilï the Great.

In the year of the great grain famine, when the moon had just completed her seventh time, a great rooster of the coop Sebright was out hunting. Like all in that year, he had had small fortune finding food for his coop and family. It was hunger that first drove him forth into the forbidden lands. It is not known what terrors beset him while he traveled there; some say he slew the fearsome Cockatrice, others that he passed through the fires of Glambrildomincrice. Whatever transpired in that cursed land, when he emerged from it he was not the same Rooster that had been driven hence by famine. The Rooster that emerged was Basilï.

Basilï returned to his village, and found a hungry, defiant people. He roused them with words and promises that would make even the most peaceful buzzard take flight and fight. With only two hundred spurbirds at his command, he set out to conquer land. For food and for freedom they conquered Appenzell, Catalana, and Fayoumi. It seemed that none could, nor would even try to stand against the mighty Basilï, and his Iron Spurs.

It was not for another 14 times of the moon that Basilï met his first real challenge, and the first great battle of the Sebright Empire took place. The first army of any size to come against Basilï came from the Redcomb alliance. By the time the alliance challenged him, Basilï's army had swelled to 1,000 Roosters, wielding spur and sling. The Redcomb alliance was intent on quelling this rebellion, and had raised the largest army that had ever been seen on the plains of the north, 10,000 Roosters, all fierce coopbirds of the north. Against this overwhelming force, Basilï arrayed his troops, and gave a rousing speech.

“This day you see before you the might of those who oppress us. We have starved, while they have fed. We have been forced to contend with the monsters of the forbidden land, while they have become fat on the green plains of the north. This day we strut, this day we fly, this day we fight! This day we cry, 'No more!' This day we make a future for ourselves, this day we show that the birds of the south are strong indeed! Fight for land, fight for your coop, and end the tyranny of the north!”

As he finished speaking, Basilï surged forward at the head of his birds, giving his terrible war cry. The army of one thousand plunged headlong into an army ten times its size. The ferocity of the attack took the Redcomb alliance by surprise, sending the front lines into confusion. This was the chance that Basilï needed, and leading his 50 greatest spurbirds, he drove through the center of the enemy, straight to the command coop of the alliance. In an amazing feat of strength and skill, these 51 Roosters overcame the Coopguard, and Basilï himself struck the Combmaster down. With the head of the army gone, the alliance descended into chaos. Just as one cannot function for long without a head, neither can an army fight without a leader. The battle continued for several hours after Basilï's great feat, but the Redcomb army could not make any coherent action, and was eventually wiped out.

With the Redcomb alliance broken, nothing stood between Basilï and his goal of conquest.

The good Poulticus goes on to describe the form of government that Basilï set up, how he ruled and conquered, and his many exploits in battle. Perhaps I shall include more of his writings at a later time, but surely you see now the importance of what I have found. I need to return and search out this mystery more fully. Surely what I have found thus far has shown you this. I again urge you to grant me the funds I need to continue my research into these ancient mysteries.


Doctor Theodore Norris Fowlstien