Topical Teens study on Dark Things
Dear BPCWA worshipper, Some weeks ago, I announced that we were starting a new topical study for Teens QnA. The first of these subjects was about “Dark Things”. This is an important trend that Christians must be very aware of because it can be so prevalent around us that many may not notice the shift towards dark things. For the benefit of those who did not attend and also for reiterating the lessons learnt, I will summarise in this pastoral what was taught in the 2 sessions in June.
The trend toward dark things. There is a trend towards dark things that has crept in stealthily into our society today that it has become more commonplace than we realise. This trend relates to an interest and fascination with things associated with gloom, horror, death, and the mystery around such things. There is even a romanticization and glamourization of these aspects. This can include areas of art, fashion, design, media, and social values. Unlike in years gone by when fashion models were made to look as “in the pink of health” and “bright and happy” as possible, many today are often made to look ghastly instead – with pale faces, sunken cheeks, and black or dark lipsticks or eyeliners to give a hollowed out look. Black is the new “in”, not because it is a formal colour, but because it is the colour of mourning and darkness. Bookstores continue to promote books about the supernatural, which often are the bestsellers. Computer games abound in this genre as well, with ghosts, ghouls, and more. Movies and TV help to promote this trend, with even cartoons like “Duckula” produced to make these monstrosities seem either harmless, comical, or just purely misunderstood.
The promotion of dark trends. The Goth subculture is a movement that embraces and embodies these thoughts and ideals about darkness. The dressing, hairstyles, and makeup which reflect this Goth culture are so common that many do not even know that they are part of it. Goths describe themselves as “someone who finds beauty in things others consider dark. They love all that is dark and mysterious. That doesn’t mean Goths are evil, it just means they have a different perspective to many. And it also doesn’t mean Goths are unkind, violent or lacking in humour, in fact quite the opposite is true. Goths love to laugh but their humour is more of the black comedy sort. They aren’t sad because they like dark things – dark things make them happy and inspire them . . . Goths all have one thing in common…that they find beauty in what others consider dark.” In recent decades, these trends have become almost mainstream via the media and fashion industry. Witches, zombies, and werewolves are portrayed as good and misunderstood. Community groups organized the Perth Zombie Walk, where adults and children dressed up and acted like zombies on the streets to support the Brain Foundation.
What God says about these things. The dark Goth subculture that many are consciously or unconsciously part of is not to be seen as merely an alternative choice or personal liking to an “alternative beauty”. It is a subculture that Christians must consciously avoid. This subculture makes clear its association with darkness by describing its follower as “someone who finds beauty in things others consider dark. They love all that is dark and mysterious.” It is ultimately a change of society’s mindset that simply because it is dark, it isn’t bad or evil – in fact, it can and is desirable and pleasurable. But God pronounces, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa 5:20). God condemns the love of darkness, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (Jhn 3:19).
What Christians must do. 1) Christians must have nothing to do with this trend. Our heavenly Father is light, we are not children of darkness, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 Jhn 1:5). 2) Put away anything we have that is associated with this trend. Do you read storybooks, listen to their music, or watch any media that contains these dark trends? Are you drawn to these and even addicted? If so, stop immediately and get rid of them, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me” (Ps 101:3). 3) Do not sport their fashion in dressing or haircuts. God says, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Rom 13:12). Do not imitate them in their ways, “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph 4:17-18). In a research, The Guardian reports, “some goth teens are more likely to harm themselves or attempt suicide. A medical journal study of 1,300 Scottish schoolchildren until their teen years found that the 53% of the goth teens had attempted to harm themselves and 47% had attempted suicide. The study found that the “correlation was stronger than any other predictor”. The British Medical Journal also concluded that “identification as belonging to the Goth subculture [at some point in their lives] was the best predictor of self harm and attempted suicide [among young teens]”. Ultimately, you are playing with the powers of darkness and these powers will not let you leave unscathed!
Parents, do you know what your children enjoy for their leisure or otherwise, publicly or privately? If you do not, it is time that you do. This is one of the purposes of the Teens’ topical sessions – to highlight to our children and parents the dangers that lurk in the world. I encourage worshippers to come and learn together another topic at our next topical studies in October.
Yours in our Lord’s service,