Thursday, April 1, 2010

Eliminating Evil or Concentrating on Christianity?

Some people think that because the Duggars shield their children from what they call "worldly influences" such as modern music and TV, they are basically keeping them in a cult-like compound. They are in a sense, eliminating their freedom to choose and see what the world is really like. Of course there are many ways you can argue this, afterall they are seeing a lot of the world in their travels, they stay in hotels with TVs, and they are on TV, so they must see some things and hear some things. But according to Jim Bob, they don't. They sing hymns, they listen to classical music and play classical music, and they watch approved Christian DVDs and videos. They watch their own show on the computer or a monitor.

They do see the world--they go to the mall, they go to the grocery store--they've been to Times Square in NYC more than once. They've also been to El Salvador more than once. They aren't sheltered from the world, just from certain parts of it.

So the big question is, can you be a good Christian and still wear pants and listen to heavy metal? Well let's ask cousin Amy! It was brought up in another post--about Dressing Like the Duggars that they do hang out with their cousin Amy and she does wear pants and listen to modern music. A comment was made that Amy is a Christian and does follow the Christian way---so why the difference? And it was also brought up that you can be pierced and tattooed and be a Christian as well--just look at Jay Bakker--he's a Preacher.

I have a pierced tongue (bugs my Rabbi to no end.) I also listen to heavy metal (high school in the 80s so it's ingrained) however I'm still an Orthodox Jew that is so observant I still wear a head covering and long sleeves in the hot Central California summer. A visiting Rabbi explained it at Seder last night..."we're all Jews here, just a matter of degrees, we may all worship in different ways, some may not be kosher, some may not observe all the tenants, some may not come every sabbath, but we're still all Jews." Same thing with Christians---Amy is still a Christian even if she wears pants and listens to Metallica. I think Jim Bob gets that.

I just think that they've decided that it's easier to just take it all out of the house and be done with it not because it's evil but because it's more of a distraction. Same thing with Chassidic Jews--Chassidim don't watch TV or movies or listen to modern music, not because it's evil but because it takes away the focus of prayer and Torah and concentrating on being a better Jew.

So while some people think the Duggars are just so afraid of what might happen that it's easier to just eliminate it all before something bad happens, I'm more of the mindset that they eliminated it all because they saw what happened when it WAS in the house--it took away the focus on their family. Afterall, they didn't begin their marriage as focused on their faith as they are now--they did try having TV in their home and found it to be a distraction from family life.

Your opinions? Are they sticking their heads in the sand or are they just trying to focus on their faith? Do you think their kids will break free once they leave home and become more like cousin Amy?


  1. Again, Marybeth, your comments are so thoughtful, and I do enjoy reading them. I see there are many differences between Orthodox Jews and the Christianity that the Duggars and ATI practice. In your faith, your traditions and rituals have been lived the same, for many hundreds/thousands of years. Rabbis study and argue among their selves. In the end, yours is an examined life and religion. You all live by its traditions. ATI is recent invention of one man. It is "based" on the this one man has interpreted as the teaching of the bible. Other Christians interpret the bible in other ways. Just my opinion.

  2. I dont believe that they will become cousin Amy, each of the Duggars have their own mind and I believe that they are happy following in their parents footsteps. I love the Duggars - living in the UK means im behind on the televsion series but I keep up to date on you tube, facebook and TLC. I have two boys and would love them to grow up and be good kids (they are now just very boistroius)! They attend school and we dont attend church but I do beleve in God. great blog - i enjoy reading it.

  3. I think Jim Bob gets his core ideas from ATI and enjoys going to their get togethers, but I really don't see him as a follower. And that's just because he's too out there in the world. He's too vocal, too on his own, and on TV. He breaks all the rules of cults in general for people who think they're a cult. I think he likes some of their ideas, but deep down he's a politician and likes the spot light, so for him to follow some other guy would just never happen. Borrow ideas? Heck ya!

  4. Can you really not miss things you've never had in the 1st place?? The parents appear to filter out things they think the kids don't need. Do we require dancing and different types of music to live? No we don't. BUT...I can't imagine my life without either one. If I were told to remove these things from my life...I would truly MISS them! These kids might feel like they are not missing out on much. Then there's this thing called, "being curious". Do they ever hear a tune of something out in the community that they like...but try to tune it out because it might be bad? Do you ever hear music that's not even your type...but it sounds good. I would like to make a list of songs that I think are "harmless" and have the older Duggar kids sample it. With JB's permission of course.

  5. You know, I've been a TV addict since I was little--I had my own TV with cable in my room from the 4th grade on...and then as an adult I worked for the cable company and got EVERYTHING they offered for free--DVRs arrived and I was in heaven!!!

    Well then I got married and moved away and after my husband got laid off and got a lower paying job, we redid finances and satellite was the first to go. Now we have our DVD player and DVDs I had collected (I'm a sitcom addict so I have almost everything--all seasons) and the things I get from the library.

    Yes I thought I was going to just "die" without it when it was shut off. But, you know, I've survived just fine. I have to watch "19 Kids" either on bootleg uploads on YouTube or now on the TLC website...."Top Chef" is also a You Tube bootleg thing and everything else is on the network website. Life does exist without pay TV!

    My Rabbi's kids have never had TV either--like I said, same type of belief. They don't know who "stars" are either and they go to Hebrew boarding school in Beverly Hills. It's funny when I go pick them up or drop them off as a favour (so I can go shopping) and I'll go "star hunting" but they'll have no clue who I'm talking about.

    I don't think there's any reason to berate the Duggars for eliminating "worldly" influences from their kids--especially with some of the language that's in Top 40 music today. My 3 yr old hears Flo Rida's "Right Round" on the radio and in her mind hears "Wheels on the bus" and stars singing "round and round"....should I be concerned? Probably.

    As for listening to other music...I'll admit I'm a music snob. Country music makes my spinal cord come to a screeching halt. I don't care for classical either--snore. I'm an 80s kid who still listens to heavy metal. When I was pregnant I put AC/DC in the headphones and played it for my stomach.

    I'm sure they've heard the stuff cousin Amy listens too, as they've been to her house and ridden with her in her car. I think it's more of a "not in our house" situation, not a "not in our world" situation.

  6. I don't think it's all about ATI. Many Christians holiness denominations have the same (and stricter) standards as the Duggars. A lot of Independent Baptist churches, all United Pentecostal churches, all Bible Missionary Churches, etc preach that ladies should wear skirts, no sleeveless stuff, many do not approve jewelery or makeup, as well. Some holiness denominations have long preached that long sleeves or at least 3/4 length shirts for ladies, hose at all times, etc.

    So it's not just Orthodox Judiasm that has preached this for hundreds of years. There are many Christian denominations that have preached the Duggar's standards of modesty, lifestyle, etc and even more strict standards for hundreds of years as well.

    Love Mrs P