In which Gothard comes THIS CLOSE to making a valid argument.

Welcome back! We’re back at it today, looking at Ten Biblical Reasons the Rock Beat Is Evil in Any Form. Here’s a really cool cover of a Micheal Jackson song that can will serve as our soundtrack for today’s post.

Reason number 6: “The ‘rock beat’ disobeys God’s command to avoid ‘all appearance of evil.'”

rock music looks evil

It’s not worth it to spend too much time on this point, because Gothard is painting with such broad strokes it makes it almost impossible to nail down exactly what he’s saying. As near as we can figure, there are two forms of “sound” and “dress styles” and “appearance.” There is a Godly form, and a worldly, evil form. If you sound, or dress like the world, then you are not avoiding the appearance of evil.

This sounds great if you’ve locked yourself in a place far from civilization for the past 40 years (that sounds eerily like what some of our parents tried to do…). But if you’ve ever been out in the world, you realize that life is not nearly so well defined, clear cut or obvious. The bad guys don’t always wear black. You cannot judge a person to be either worldly or Godly from their clothes.

As to Christian groups putting satanic symbols on their album covers…yea, whatever. I’m not even going to waste time on that. If somebody cares to produce an example, then I’ll address it.

Here’s a fun one:

Not only is it difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish wordly rock groups from most “Christian rock” groups, but it is also very hard to determine which members are men and which ones are women, because of the long hair, skirts, and other attire worn by many of them.

Yea, I’m just going to leave that one as is.

Reason number 7:

The “rock beat” contradicts God’s command not to be brought under its power.

Wow, stop the presses! This is big news. God himself has spoken, and he has told not to be brought under the power of the “rock beat.” I wonder what verses I have missed. I didn’t even realize the words “rock beat” appeared in Scripture! Let’s see what verse it is:

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient…I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Oh. So, actually, God didn’t issue any commands about rock music. We’re told not to be controlled by things that are lawful. In other words, we shouldn’t become addicted or enslaved to things. I feel…slightly cheated. It’s almost like Gothard is willing to twist Scripture to suit his own purposes.

Let’s see…rock music is an addiction…blah blah blah…a stronger beat is needed…blah blah blah…testimony about addictive rock music (“It is so easy to slip into!”) blah blah…

Yep, nothing new here. Wild claim, twisting of Scripture and more personal testimonies. Let’s move along, shall we?

Reason number 8:

The “rock beat” opposes God’s command not to mix light with darkness.

Oh boy, more circular logic! “Rock music is evil, therefore verses that tell us not to mix light with darkness apply, therefore rock music is evil!”

Ok, here’s something interesting. Gothard tells us that “God ordained preaching, not music, to reach the lost.” This is an interesting claim, except…it’s beside the point. The idea Gothard is presenting is that a syncopated beat is inherently evil. Even if you can convince me that music (of any sort) shouldn’t be used to spread the Gospel (because it’s wrong to sing the Gospel message? What?), that doesn’t really have anything to do with the moral status of a syncopated beat.

I love the music video for She Hates Me by Puddle of Mudd. It’s hilarious.

Ok, now we finally get to point 9, which I’ve been looking forward to writing about, because this is the one part of the booklet that I can actually agree with. Let’s see what he says:

rock music ministers 1

rock music ministers 2

Wow, I almost agree with this. Gothard has hit on a very real problem, both in Christian music and in Christian outreach to youth. Many older leaders in the church who feel out of touch with today’s youth will ask a younger, “hipper” Christian to teach the youth. But sadly, churches often choose someone without asking important questions about his spiritual maturity, Biblical knowledge and ability to provide wise counsel to youth. This is a serious problem.

But, while the issue of poorly equipped ministers is not to be taken lightly, it has nothing to do with rock music. The final two paragraphs simply do not follow from the previous points. Gothard’s argument boils down to two points:

A. Teachers and ministers should be qualified and equipped to teach the word of God well, therefore

B. Rock music is vulgar and comparable to pornography.

That simply doesn’t make sense.

Finally! The last reason!

The “rock beat” violates God’s command to protect our bodies as God’s temple.

Gothard claims that rock music damages our bodies in three ways:

  1. It damages our hearing.
  2. It damages our brain cells.
  3. It damages our concentration.

Yes, playing music too loud damages your hearing. PLAYING CLASSICAL MUSIC TOO LOUD WILL ALSO DAMAGE YOUR EARS! DUH! I feel the need to beat my head against a wall for a minute…

rock music damages our brains

Ok! Finally! We had to wade through 9 reasons, but we’re getting something that actually, really addresses the rock beat! But…wait, who did this research? And when? Was it peer reviewed?

Well, Google is a thing, and I think I’ve found the research. Here’s an article that seems to reference it, but again, there are almost no details. But at least it gives me some names: let’s see what an Ebsco host search yields. Searching for Gervasia Schreckenberg yields…one result. It’s a letter to the editor of the New York Academy of Sciences and it talks about how life begins at conception.

Ok, no dice there. Let’s see if we can get anything on Harvey Bird.

Nothing.

Ok, Ebsco host is the place for finding academic, reliable research. It’s odd that I’m getting nothing. Maybe we can google again…

Nope, no luck. I sent emails to both universities, requesting information on the research. From the few tidbits I could find online, it seems that perhaps they played non-stop drum beats for a group of mice for three weeks, which apparently drove them nuts. Well, duh. That’d drive anybody nuts. But last time I checked, most rock music contains more than just a single drum beat, and it doesn’t last three weeks…

rock music you can't think

I take it back! Everything I ever thought about how poorly the sources in the previous paragraph were cited, I take it all back! That’s the height of responsibly citing all sources of research when compared to this. “Further research”? When? Where? Who? How? Peer reviewed? Published? Repeated by any other reputable scientist?

You see, while it may seem that Gothard is finally leaving his logical fallacies behind and offering solid evidence, he’s still just offering smoke and mirrors. Because Gothard refuses to give us details about the research, and doesn’t give us the option of personally examining the evidence, we’re forced to just take him at his word. This is contrary to the entire concept of research. Scientists who conduct and report on research are very careful to record exact details about their experiments, the conditions and how they reached their conclusions, so others can carefully critique their methods. Any scientist who refused to explain details, or to submit his work to peer review would find any claims he made ignored. And anyone who tells us “research has shown” without giving us the opportunity to examine the details should be ignored as well.

Well folks, we did it!  It took two weeks and 9400 words, but we’ve made it through this booklet!

Some closing thoughts on music:

  1. To listen to Bill, rock music is one of Satan’s primary tools to attack and destroy both Christians and non-Christians alike. As we saw in the story last week, Gothard teaches that we don’t even have to listen to rock music for it to have an ill effect; simply have a recording existing in the home can give Satan an in-road for attack. If rock music truly is such a horrible tool of the devil, why is Scripture entirely silent on the topic?
  2. Why has Satan taken so long to bring out one of his most effective tools? Why did he wait thousands of years before introducing the rock beat?
  3. The Bible is entirely silent on the subject of musical styles. The only direction we are given is to sing a new song to the Lord. God is creative. And he is pleased when his children are creative as well.
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Citing sources

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Short post today because I don’t have a lot of time, but I wanted to quickly address something that crops up very frequently in IBLP material: the uncited source.

Here’s an example from The Amazing Way. Gothard is telling us how to have “total health” by relieving stresses. On page 58 Gothard writes about a doctor who was bitter over the death of his son and then developed cancer. This doctor was curious about the relationship between his cancer and his bitterness, so he carried out a study with twenty thousand patients. Gothard tell us that this doctor found a direct correlation between bitterness and cancer. He goes on to say that when this doctor “showed his research to the university that gave him his degree, they refused to examine it.”

Notice the complete lack of anything that would allow you to track down this doctor, this school or the study. We don’t know the doctors name, where he practiced, when he did this study, if it was ever published, which university refused to look at it (and why the refused to look at it); nothing.

We are left with Gothard essentially telling us “Somebody once did research that supports my theories.” Well, sorry to break it to you, but a vague and unknown authority carries no authority. If there is no way to find the source material and examine it ourselves, it doesn’t matter how much Gothard tells us these people agree with him.

Be on the look out for this stuff when dealing with IBLP material. Anytime you read or hear a claim about hard facts or studies without a way provided for you to look up the source material yourself, be very cautious.

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