Friday, January 20, 2006

The Cult of Character
Investigative reporter Silja J.A. Talvi writes an interesting piece on IBLP's character program:

IBLP's master plan appears to be well underway. That is, until inquiring minds finally begin to ask where, exactly, all of this is headed. What, pray tell, lies behind the smiling bears, elephants and zebras so ready and eager to deliver their character traits to you, your children and your community?

If they could talk, they might be able to tell you that all's not well in the peaceable kingdom, no matter how innocent it might look at first glance.

15 Comments:

Blogger Richard said...

I only found your blog within the past two weeks, but its been fantastic knowing that something like this exists. It's so desperately needed. And its hilarious that the line between truth and fiction is so blurry that sometimes people can't tell which is which.

Welcome back. Glad you returned.

Rich

5:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Bill's maester plan is to rule the world.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Shiphrah said...

I find it rather interesting that although the author attempts to cast cynicism and suspicion on the Character First program, it still appears to be a good program. I'm not a supporter of many Gothard programs, but I think this one was a good idea and should continue to be supported, whether or not we like Bill Gothard.

8:02 AM  
Blogger IDigAK said...

great read, x-er, thanks for the link.

one responder had a point tho: "Typical...no alternative is offered, just a gloomy assessment of how things are going terribly awry. Could this be because the alternatives have failed? Where are the humanist academies and their glossy posters? Could it be that godlessness has been been found lacking, and now people are returning to their roots? How will progressives answer this challenge?

8:33 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Shiphra, I can appreciate the sentiment. And this critique is not toward IBLP or Gothard alone, but Character First operates under the false assumption that lives can be changed apart from Christ. This is true every time we try to make abortion illegal or gay marriage or whatever. People will be sinful apart from Christ no matter what legislation or character we try to sell.

Of course, in Gothard's case this stems from his Finneyism and Pelagianism which is rampant throughout the Institute.

Rich

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brother K what a site, talk about 180 360 to 0... wow serious issues, one extreme to the other is not healthy, get a life for example there is a war going on... join the service. Get out of this rut and deal with your past hurts and move on!

SS

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why is it that people tell anyone who even tries to talk about the bilge gothard espouses to "get over past hurts and move on?"...i don't hear one single "ouch, please validate me! i need someone to help me!" in any of this. taking personal responsibility for who you allign yourself with, what you believe, and whether or not a system of belief does validate your personal ideals...this isn't a bitch-n'-moan pursuit.

my problem with CTI is NOT that they try to change people apart from Christ. this CAN be done, and thankfully it happens all the time. my problem with CTI is that they, like all Gothard's programs, eventually marginalize anyone who doesn't agree with him.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Drschplatt said...

I just got done with the article and I was kind of shocked by the last few paragraphs. It seemed to me from reading the article that CTI is a great program. After everything he said why is he against the program. It would seem that CTI has been able to stay away from the Christian side and do what they say they are. Lives cannot be fully changed without Christ but our nation can be brought back to the higher morals we used to have by teaching character. I say let them do what they are doing I've never had any problem with CTI. They do good work.

1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True character only comes from a relationship with Christ. You can fake it for a long time, but when things get really rough, we are empty to "be good" without Him. This program makes inroads into our culture because our culture values "religion" and "good character" but not Christ. People of any religion or none can jump on board CTI because the focal point is on self-change on their own terms and not submission to Christ's will. Christ's life reminds us that we are sinners and cannot save ourselves; IBLP ultimately allows people to think that following certain principles, behaving a certain way, is the same thing as being a Christian. There are plenty of people who grew up in ATI without ever knowing Jesus and when push came to shove, they walked away from everything their parents thought they had taught them.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"walking away from everything my parents thought they taught me"....praise God, I did. Including hopeless dependence on religion and not taking responsibility for my own life, judgment passing, living in fear, and not knowing how to relate to anyone unlike them. Jesus warned against making "the Way" your God, but they figured they knew better....I hope to avaoid that.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a well done comprehensive peice. Bravo. But, yeah, the last couple paragraphs read like a tabloid. "What is REALLY behind this "so-called" good Character pushing orginization?" The writer did an extremely poor job of casting a shadow on the orginization. I'm talking purely from a logical standpoint here about how convincing the article was.

I'm not sure what to think of Character First! My brother and sister tried to be part of it, but were too fat. Obviously ignoring the "self-control" character quality, right?

1:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh thats so sad! i guess heaven is for skinny ppl!

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

They were too fat?! Sheesh, I'm too fat and I'm a part of it!

Oh well, I think the article is hilarious- "Beware, or one day YOUR CHILDREN will demonstrate Good Character!!!!" The horror.

As far as teaching character without Christ: The law is a taskmaster which brings us to Christ.
Also, the "Character Coaches" which teach in OKC public schools are also now teaching Bible clubs throughout OKC.
Through service with no-strings-attached, you earn a place to share the gospel.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TRU DAT - I believe tru character comes from the HOLY SPIRIT in the BIBLE - not a man's principles -
it's tru!!
My goal is not just to have good character so that I might hopefully miss some trials and pain in this life - my goal is to know JESUS CHRIST - and yes, even share in HIS sufferings.
Gothard preaches a "blessings" gospel, that if you apply all HIS wisdom, no evil will befall you.

Quite wrong, quite wrong. Tru character comes from walking with JESUS, not a man, and obeying HIM even if it means you don't prosper and become "Successful" on this earth at all!

Can I get an AMEN ?

Buyah !!

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, there is nothing sinful in learning character - but lets not forget the HEART of the children - you can teach outward behaviour til you're blue in the face, but if they have a heart that doesn't seek GOD and GOD ALONE, it will not last very long.
In fact, I was taught all this, and all it did for me was to learn that pleasing a man or a group was more valuable and important in this life than the CREATOR HIMSELF!

We need to help children realize our heart's natural sinful self, and that it comes from the inside out
EVERYTHING IN BALANCE

10:37 AM  

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