The Bible and Culture

Since country music is the repository of all truth in this part of the country, I offer this country tune, with apologies to the Beatles (their famous chorus was just too good not to use).


It sweepin cross America,
The plague of pulchritude
Its gripped the whole nation
The bare facts are quite rude,
We’ve put on pounds around our waist
That we cannot divest
And when we weren’t a lookin
We got a sunken chest

Sometimes they say Dunlop disease
Is what we call it now,
When you’re spare tire hangs out that far
Don’t need a belt no how
My waist has wasted more and more
Can’t see the scales today
And while my jeans burst at the seams
I’ve got the guts to say……

CHORUS (ala Beatles)
Boy, you gotta carry that weight
carry that weight a long time
Girl you gotta carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time.

They say its love handles,
Or ‘your full figured now’,
Or ‘you are so pleasingly plump’
Or ‘you’ve filled out somehow’
It is a weighty matter,
When you can’t wear your shorts
Your navel’s horizontal
And you feel out of sorts

Those calories on the lips
They say can devastate
Ten tons on the hips
You learn this all too late.
They call it now middle aged
I never knew just why
Its cause my middle now has aged
And it’s too late to cry…


Chest of drawers disease is here
Spreading through the land
That’s when your chest falls in your drawers
and you fill out your can
Oh where is Jenny Craig just now
Or what can Atkins teach
Through Jazzercise I’ll soon arrive
Upon that old South Beach

I’m watchin all my weight just now
I’ve got it out in front,
I float much better in the pool,
My problem I’ll confront
From carbs to calories to sweets
I ‘ve got my just desserts
I gave up diets back in Lent
Cause starving always hurts.


Well friends it only took thirty years but we now have the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy out on film, and an entertaining film it is, full of adventure and whimsy, and also the odd comment on origins and religion. I do mean odd. We have a particularly peculiar scene on a foreign planet where noses and sneezing are part of a religious ritual— apparently religion is something to sneeze at. And then of course there is the larger lurking theory in the movie that the earth was eliminated quite by accident (the mistake of the President) in order to make way for a galactic superhighway.

But perhaps we should go sit at the cafe at the end of the universe and have a think about how satirical views of Christianity or other monotheistic religions get slipped into a comedy like this. Is this just farce played out on the big screen or should we see this as serious comment? Should we lighten up and laugh at all this, or should we be concerned? From a rhetorical point of view, one of the things in a culture based on entertainment that most shapes worldviews is comedy. Humor causes people to drop their defenses and let all kinds of ideas into their cerebral cortex, and if the humor is effective enough it can lead to joining in the ridicule of things one may have previously treated with respect.

It is an interesting exercise to go to a movie and see which bits make people laugh. Almost no scene in Hitchhiker’s Guide got more laughs than the worship scene. Perhaps Christians do need to lighten up, but perhaps as well this is a telltale sign that our culture is drifting further and further away from its ultimate source of being.