Inflicting pleasure: Perhaps Huxley was right?

From the foreward of Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, where he suggests that Aldous Huxley may have had a better idea of what the future held than George Orwell did in his classic 1984:

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another – slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’sBrave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions”. In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.

Drawings by Stuart McMillen, Recombinant Records


“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust [1] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. — Matthew 6:19-20


HT: Justin Taylor

Time Magazine notices: There’s something about those Calvinists

Time Magazine lists Calvinism — or rather, the “New Calvinism,” as it calls it — as one of the 10 Ideas Changing the World Now. It comes in at No. 3:

Calvinism is back, and not just musically. John Calvin’s 16th century reply to medieval Catholicism’s buy-your-way-out-of-purgatory excesses is Evangelicalism’s latest success story, complete with an utterly sovereign and micromanaging deity, sinful and puny humanity, and the combination’s logical consequence, predestination: the belief that before time’s dawn, God decided whom he would save (or not), unaffected by any subsequent human action or decision.

Read the rest here.

What makes young Calvinists tick: Collin Hansen interview with The White Horse Inn

A Journalists Journey With New Calvinists
Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey With New Calvinists

Collin Hansen, editor at large for Christianity Today and author of Young, Restless, and Reformed: A Journalists Journey With New Calvinists,  was interviewed recently by Michael Horton at The White Horse Inn. From the book’s blurb:

From places like John Piper’s den, Al Mohler’s office, and Jonathan Edwards’s college, Christianity Today journalist Collin Hansen investigates what makes today’s young Calvinists tick.

Church-growth strategies and charismatic worship have fueled the bulk of evangelical growth in America for decades. While baby boomers have flocked to churches that did not look or sound like church, it seems these churches do not so broadly capture the passions of today?s twenty-something evangelicals. In fact, a desire for transcendence and tradition among young evangelicals has contributed to a Reformed resurgence.

For nearly two years, Christianity Today journalist Collin Hansen visited the chief schools, churches, and conferences of this growing movement. He sought to describe its members and ask its leading pastors and theologians about the causes and implications of the Calvinist resurgence. The result, Young, Restless, Reformed, shows common threads in their diverse testimonies and suggests what tomorrow’s church might look like when these young evangelicals become pastors or professors.

You can order the book or download the first chapter at

HT: Justin Taylor, whom I am grateful for among many young, restless, reformed men.

Do Hard Things study guide

\As if the book wasn’t good enough, Alex and Brett Harris are now providing a study guide (for free!):

If you’re like us, talking with others about what you’re reading helps you decide what you think and how to respond to what a book is saying. This chapter-by-chapter study guide is intended to help you do just that.

Use it for personal study, if you wish, but we think it works best in a group. And the best group is one where you’re surrounded by others who care about the same things you do and are ready to put truth into action.

Don’t feel you have to process every question. It’s not a test, and as often as not, there’s no one right answer. Also, don’t let our questions limit what you ask or where you go. Ask God to direct your thoughts and decisions. And ask Him for courage — lots of it. Because big ideas are weak ideas if we’re not willing to let them shape how we think and live.

So use this study guide to zero in on the ideas, choices, and actions that seem most promising and helpful to you and your friends. Then expect great things to happen in your lives as you do hard things for the glory of God!

Your Fellow Rebelutionaries,

Alex and Brett

Both my son and daughter are reading through it and I look forward to going through the study guide with them. Thanks, Alex and Brett, for a great book and resource. Keep the mission!

A look at the new iPhone

\"iPhone\"OK, so this is not the new iPhone that is supposedly supposed to be released next week. Rather, this is a new iPhone at the Ridgedale Mall Apple Store in Minnetonka, Minn. It was still cool, and my son, Andrew, and I enjoyed killing some time at the store while the rest of our family shopped.

I think Apple stores are the adult equivalent of those playgrounds that are in the center of malls for parents to bring bored children during shopping trips.