The Foolishness of the World

I have very little problem with entertainment, per se. I’m listening to entertaining music at this very moment, actually, and just yesterday I was at the theater watching Stardust (which, admittedly, wasn’t actually all that entertaining).

But that said, I do have a problem with the degree to which entertainment has been elevated in our culture (or perhaps, most cultures).

We, as a culture, love celebrities. Sports stars, movie stars, singers, deejays, musicians, and on and on. We occupy ourselves with their achievements — as vain as they so often are. And that makes some sense — by and large, it’s their achievements that put them on the public radar.

But it isn’t just what they do professionally which tickles society’s fancies.

Their personal lives, “dirty laundry,” latest “romantic” activities, and especially their scandals are hot topics of conversation as we allow ourselves to be swept up into a drama that may or may not actually taking place (depends on which magazine you believe). We even have magazines keeping track of what the rich & famous are wearing and editorial watchdogs to point out fashion mistakes.

Oh, and we have dolls (appropriately called Bratz) which encourage our daughters to develop that “passion for fashion” early on. The cycle must, after all, continue.

Frankly, there have been many days I wished the entire entertainment industry — even if my favorite musicians were included — would up & vanish.

I was disheartened when presented with a quote from John Chrysostom which indicated that this problem with entertainment is by no means new. Yet it was encouraging to see that even back then, men wise in the Scriptures & the wisdom of God recognized the problem:

If you ask [Christians] who is Amos or Obadiah, how many apostles there were or prophets, they stand mute; but if you ask them about the horses or drivers, they answer with more solemnity than sophists or rhetors.

Back then, John saw the inordinate amount of attention & respect given to chariot racers and even their horses … to the athletes of the day. We are by no means different today. We still love our athletes. And I’d not be surprised if more of us — even so long after his retirement — knew what Michael Jordan’s most famous jersey number was than could tell how many books the Bible has.

There is an imbalance, and as a result, far too many people are passing off into eternity without ever having known wisdom — the true wisdom of God as described in Proverbs 8.

Jesus Christ is the embodiment of that wisdom, embraced by those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:24). To those who are perishing, it is foolishness (verse 18), nor can it be anything else.

I would say, perhaps that is why so many fill up their minds with the foolish things of the world.

I would, but then that wouldn’t explain why so many who confess to have been made partakers of the wisdom of God persist in doing the same.

3 thoughts on “The Foolishness of the World”

  1. Nor does it explain how so many who do not believe in your God still do not partake of the foolish things of this world.

  2. That depends on how one defines the “foolish things of this world.” I only gave a few examples (celebrity watching, fashion loving, etc.) above, but there are many, many more.

  3. There are many people who spend their lives in monasteries doing work and meditation and do not believe in your God (Buddhist monks).

    Does that fall under “foolish things of this world”?

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