Sunday, December 12, 2010

ON AMUSEMENTS, by Harvey Newcomb

Hmmm... It's been many years since I've read this <http: 27="""" young_man22.htm>, and upon a glancing review found that linking to it may lend recommendation that should not be given unqualified, for example:

VII. Engage in no amusement which unfits you for devotional exercises. If, on returning from a scene of amusement, you feel no disposition to pray, you may be sure something is wrong. You had better not repeat the same again.

How generally vague, subject to abuse, and presumptuous, hmm?

IX. Reject such amusements as are generally associated with evil. If the influences which surround any practice are bad, you may justly conclude that it is unsafe, without stopping to inquire into the nature of the practice itself. Games of chance are associated with gambling and drinking; therefore, I conclude that they cannot be safely pursued, even for amusement. Dancing, also, is associated with balls, with late hours, high and unnatural excitement, and dissipation; it is therefore unsafe. You may know the character of any amusement by the company in which it is found.

Writing is associated with evil propaganda, and let's not forget the tongue: silence everyone! In all seriousness (see Newcombe's rule VIII., "Engage in nothing which tends to dissipate serious impressions."), however, is it not the word itself that praises drink as a blessing from God, or is it not our Lord or instituted the drinking of wine in remembrance of him? Now if "drinking" with the modern sense, very common among the practitioners thereof, to get drunk, I would agree, but otherwise Necombe is to be avoided on this, perhaps in everything, according to the apostles themselves. "Games of chance"? If he knew his Voltaire he'd know there is no such thing, "chance is a word devoid of sense"; it's the faith in, looking to, the cards and the greed accompanying these games, as well as sinister principle of pursuing gain upon another's loss without effort expended by either end to actually produce anything whether tangible or in service, only "win", that makes "gambling" evil, not any element of "chance": otherwise you'd better put away your "Monopoly", folks, or any number of other harmless amusements whether boardgame or otherwise. 

The judgment revealed, even if just by these few limited exerpts, is such that is not to be trusted, and so I don't think I'd recommend Mr. Newcombe as a great counselor any time soon, though perhaps as an interesting, sometimes worthwhile,, maybe for getting insight into the kind of shallow philosophical moralism that's common these days, and has been for, perhaps that's too quick to speek and to harsh, so allow me to qualify with the following, "in these couple examples of advice".

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