Lawful Vocations?

“It is easier to see how God blesses the world through farmers and milkmaids than through Madison Avenue advertising executives or Hollywood movie stars, though in the eyes of the world the latter are considered much better jobs.

Still, most lawful occupations do give service to others. If someone is willing to pay for a product or a service, they must consider themselves benefiting from it. Companies need advertisers to help them become successful, and Hollywood movie stars can offer innocent pleasures for millions. These are worthy vocations” (Gene Edward Veith, Jr., God At Work, pp. 73-74).

Innocent pleasures, eh, Veith?  Even the pernicious Puritans would forcefully denounce Veith’s evil assertion that movie stars (i.e., stage-players) offer “innocent pleasures” and have a “worthy” or “lawful” vocation.

[Even such supposedly “wholesome” and “family-friendly” television shows still had actors pretending to engage in sexual immorality.  Also, I note Veith’s allusion to God’s “blessing” the world through farmers and milkmaids.  Certainly, God blesses His regenerate elect through these means of providing food and other sorts of nourishment. Most likely, Veith is alluding to the damnable heresy known as “common grace.” ]

I forget where, exactly, but in another place Veith justifies Hollywood by saying that it teaches us about “human sin” or “the human condition” (or some such nefarious nonsense).  Of course, at one level of analysis, Hollywood DOES teach us about “human sin” — the human sin of making light of sin on the silver screen. But we don’t need to sin in setting wicked and worthless things before our eyes in order to confirm that (cf. Psalm 101:3).

I’m not promoting the Scottish Covenanters as true Christians, but they seemed to have the moral sense and discernment to see through the various pretexts for watching and/or reading wickedness:

“…. but we do insist that far more of this can be known by studying scripture and the writings of the Christian Fathers and Reformers than can be known in ten times as long study of the Latin and Greek classics. If human nature be always the same, we do not need a long process to show us its deep depravity, and if it be important that we should study this, let us have classics without any expurgation, and, then, go to drunken bar rooms and filthy brothels! and on the same principle we should make Voltaire and Rousseau, Balzac and George Sand, and Eugene Sue the text books for French in our schools, and for Italian, Alfieri with his impure dramas! Why, surely, my worthy brother, the writer of that essay did not think of the natural inference that would be made from his reasoning, or it would not have come to light. We will see wickedness enough, and so will our sons, without spending thousands of money and years of study to explore it. That the Bible narrates great wickedness is readily admitted, but it is to denounce and rebuke it; whereas the Latin and Greek classics exhibit every thing that is furious and fierce and base, adorned with the fascinations of eloquence and song. One might as well argue that because Mr. Chrystie testifies against profanity and debars debauchery, therefore, we might and ought to go to the haunts of ribaldry and schools of obscenity. ‘It is a shame to speak of those things that are done of them in secret.’ [Eph. 5.12.] ‘Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt good manners.’ [1 Cor. 15.33.]” [SOURCE]

And the unbeliever, R.L. Dabney wrote:

“Now some have argued, that it is desirable to make the young familiar by their own observation with all the forms of vice, because in after life they must be exposed to their temptations. But such a policy shows a great ignorance of man’s nature. Not so judged the Psalmist when he prayed, ‘Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity.’ [Psalm 119.37.] Not so judged the wisest of men when he urged, ‘Avoid it, pass not by it; turn from it, and pass away.’ [Prov. 4.15.] Not so judged Paul, nor even the prudent heathen whom he quoted, when he taught that, ‘Evil communications corrupt good manners.’ [1 Cor. 15.33.] All human beings, however amiable, have in their hearts, until sanctified, the dormant seeds of all the vices. Who does not know that the contemplation of such vices tends to awaken those seeds into life? It is just thus that evil companions and evil example tend to corrupt those who were previously innocent. It is dangerous to become familiar with wickedness, even by contemplating it in others” (R.L. Dabney, On Dangerous Reading).

Another quote from Dabney:

“Hence, the clear duty of preserving purity in dress, deportment and gesture, language, reading and thought. There is a school of literature, so called, once under the ban of all decent people, which now claims that the portraiture of sins against purity is a legitimate branch of art, inasmuch as the true mission of literature is to portray all commanding human emotions. I answer: Just so much as the concocting of the poisoner’s ‘hell-broth’ is a legitimate branch of cookery! All such portraitures in language, painting, statuary and theaters is perilous and criminal. Was He mistaken who said: ‘Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life’? If not, I am right” (R.L. Dabney, The Practical Philosophy, p. 370).