Certain forms of expression form part and parcel of the zetgeist. But there is sometimes a danger in appropriating them into our functional vocabulary in order to be seen as trendy or cool. Words carry power, much more than we may realise. Over the course of this new millennium, certain terms have entered popular parlance. Rather than enhance the way we communicate, they expose the sad fact of how far our modern culture has fallen into immorality and amorality. 

Gaslighting: to seek to gaslight another human being is nothing short of cruel and inhumane treatment. It is in short a form of emotional abuse. The term is a metaphor or word picture whose ultimate aim is obvious from the image it evokes – destruction.

Celebrityphilia: this adoration of celebriites is so out of whack that the victims of this disorder will believe they can do no wrong. They are put on pedestals as if they are superhuman, and the fans hang on their every word, echoing their views and wanting to follow their every recommendation

FOMO: Social media posts especially the surfeit of photos highlighting how picture perfecet the lives of others are, often results in our imaginations running amok as we live vicariously through others. This means that we are not living in the moment and embracing our own lives. We begin to envy and covet what others have and forget the blessings in our own lives. We form the myth that other peoples’ lives are more exciting than ours, and we can easily become caught up in a frenzy of social events because being on our own with our own thoughts and circumstances has become painfully inadequate by contrast.

YOLO: The statement ‘You only live once’ is generally viewed as a positive mantra on par with ‘carpe diem’ or ‘seize the day’. Yet, it contradicts the Christian worldview because this mortal life is not the be-all and end-all of human existence. God’s purpose of sending Jesus is encapsulated in John 3:16 – “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.”(NCV) Since death is not the end, we cannot afford to live our lives as if there is no tomorrow and no accountability beyond the grave. If we truly embrace the YOLO mantra, we may end up engaging in reckless and hedonistic behaviour which ultimately undermines our quality of life, and happiness.

The unsavoury word ‘porn’ has been attached to so many innocent activities such as the consumption of food – namely food porn, and even as a tactic to manipulate others such as ‘fear porn’. This suggests that it has become mainstream and acceptable in normal conversation. This activity still flies in the face of many upright individuals who do not endorse illicit liaisons with strangers, much less filming it for entertainment.

Carla Cornelius

Dr Carla seeks to bring a fresh and thought-provoking perspective to today's popular culture. With her Ph.D. in Biblical Counselling, she invites readers to see the relevance of the Bible in addressing the difficult and disturbing issues of our times.