Redeeming Pleasure

"What is True?"

I’ve always appreciated Daniel. He was an Israelite but found himself living in another nation under a foreign power. I find this to be incredibly insightful as America completes the transition out of Christendom (where Christians are the majority and have the power). Daniel also had a few friends who together modeled faithfulness to God in the midst of some challenging circumstances. One verse in particular stands out to me. In describing Daniel and his friends, the Bible says, “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.”

I love that God gives them something we don’t normally attribute to God: literature, learning, and the understanding of visions and dreams. This knowledge goes far beyond an understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures. A modern day parallel might read like this: “To these four young men God gave understanding of Dostoyevsky, Dickens, and Shakespeare. He also gave knowledge of string theory, quantum physics, and relativity. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams better than Sigmund Freud.” Wouldn’t that be awesome?

We normally exclude God from these types of conversations rather than look to Him for insight into them. Many conservative forms of Christianity even forbid them. If we exclude God from any conversation, we do so to our own detriment. Christians are comfortable thinking of Jesus as an expert in spiritual things, but we might not look to Him to help us with our car repairs. Yet this dichotomy shows a limitation of our sense of compartmentalization, not of God.

A biblical understanding of truth comes from realizing all truth belongs to God. Which means truth can be found in just about anything. This means even “secular” areas! This gives us the first criteria through which to navigate entertainment for a greater pleasure. When we consider how to find pleasure in entertainment, it’s helpful to ask ourselves, “What is true?”