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Evolutionary theory, the idea that life began by chance and proceeded through natural selection toward some higher order, has long since gone mainstream in American culture. Gambling, games of chance, has also taken the culture by storm, more recently but just as thoroughly. While one didn’t cause the other the relationship is nevertheless interesting.

Evolutionary theory’s story has a long arc, but the tipping point came in 1859 with the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life and 1871 with The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. Evolutionary theory quickly gained recognition as the dominant paradigm in the biological sciences and many other fields of intellectual and social endeavor. Evolutionary theory, evolution for short, remains the accepted scientific if not social metanarrative today.

Nevada legalized commercial gambling in 1931 and Atlantic City in 1979. Other than a few racetracks that was it: two states with legal commercial or casino gambling. While reintroduction of state lotteries in the 1960s and 1970s set off a “third wave” of gambling in the United States, gambling hit critical mass with the passage of the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988. Now, only two states remain in which commercial gambling is still illegal: Hawaii and Utah.

Evolutionary theory roots its interpretation of the world in closed-order naturalism. It assumes away the need, then the existence, of a Sovereign Creator God, i.e., replaces intentional divine creation design with chance. While there are many ideas about how this chance works, in the end, it’s just biological happenstance that somehow always moves species toward higher, more complex, and, mysteriously, better organisms. In the case of humankind, begin with protoplasm, become self-aware intelligent human beings.

At its core, gambling, or gaming as it’s now called, encourages people to suspend their faculties in favor of chance, luck, fate, or the “gambling gods.” In this way, gambling at its core is a celebration of irrationality (the “House” or gambling operation owners always work with an “edge”—They’re the only ones in the gambling process who aren’t gambling). Gamblers know this, saying, “You can win a race but you can’t beat the races.” Ultimately, gambling is largely an experience in futility, a vehicle for entrusting ones resources and perhaps future to chance.

In a culture that embraces the idea that life begins by chance is it any wonder that gambling has been enthusiastically adopted as both (harmless?) entertainment and a (harmless?) source of government revenue? As I said, one didn’t cause the other, but the philosophic outlook is neatly aligned.

It isn’t much of a stretch to jump from the idea life began by chance to the idea life is just a gamble, that nothing rational let alone moral guides life, and ultimately nothing invests life with meaning. Evolutionary theory and gambling share a “faith,”—and that is what it is—in chance detached from God and meaning.

If life is meaningless it must be “morality-less.” There are no objective standards, no absolute values, just moral relativism. It therefore doesn’t matter what a person does, much less who he or she is. We know what we want to do, when we want to do it, with whom we want to do it, and why doesn’t matter. We can do what is right in our own eyes because “what is right” is (objectively) assumed out of the equation.

This is what we now think of the human condition. We may be higher order animals but ultimately we’re just animals, ethically as well as biologically. Life is just a crapshoot. It’s just chance.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2013

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

I’m about at my saturation point with the phrase “Oh my God.” It’s not just that the phrase uses God’s name in vain, which it does. It’s that you hear the phrase repeated endlessly everyday. It’s like people don’t know other ways to talk.

When did our culture’s vocabulary skills slip so precipitously that the only—the only—way people on the street, at work, or on film and TV know how to express emotion is to say “Oh my God”?

Certainly scriptwriters have lost all sense of proportion or creativity. They seemingly don’t know how to write words their characters can say to demonstrate surprise, anger, fear, frustration, or a host of other strong emotions without saying “Oh my God” not once but four and five times. Really, are there no other words and phrases in the English language capable of communicating strong emotions? Would Shakespeare be Shakespeare if he’d gotten into a similar rut of repetitive base vocabulary?

Years ago one of my favorite television programs was “Magnum P.I.” I liked the program, and I liked the star Tom Selleck then and now. What I didn’t like and found egregious and grating was how the show crafted the Jonathan Higgins character played by John Hillerman. Higgins was the estate “major domo.” Ostensibly, he ran things. He was OK, even funny, but as the show aged the Higgins character was given a principal epithet. Remember? At first Higgins would just spit out a resounding “Oh my God” and that was the end of it. But in later episodes, the camera zoomed in for a facial close-up and Higgins would intone “Oh…my…GOD” slowly and with great exclamation. I guess the producers thought this was a grand addition to the character and show. For me it was just an example of the producers’ lacking common sense and their writers lacking verbal ingenuity.

Now I hear “Oh my God” from store clerks and flight attendants. I hear it from people interviewed by news media. Political leaders, certainly entertainers and sports figures (Tiger Woods with variations of the phrase on air at The Masters), comedians of course, characters in sit-coms including children, overheard mothers at Walmart, and used-to-be-buttoned-up news anchors all weigh in with “Oh my God,” morning show or primetime. I hear this phrase from old and young, professionals of all types, and, inexplicably, at times even clergy (Pastors and some Southerners have their own adaptation; they say “Oh Lord” or “Oh Lordy.”)

Now we’re not just hearing it; we’re seeing or reading it. OMG is online chat-speak for “Oh my God.” It’s an acronym, but it’s used the same way as the phrase. I see it on Facebook and Twitter nearly everyday. I read it in wall posts or tweets written by people who I know claim religious faith. What does this mean? Are they oblivious? Do they not care?

I see it in comic strips. “Luann,” for example, uses this version: “Oh my Gaww.”

Meanwhile, the English language remains rich and varied. The number of words in the English language is estimated at 750,000 to over 900,000 distinct terms. Don’t you suppose we could find words, other than “Oh my God,” for expressing our emotions?

The answer to the question is, of course, Yes. But culturally and individually we’ve become not simply profane but lazy. People don’t know other words because they’ve never been expected to or tried to learn. It’s sad, because if the trend isn’t arrested we’ll keep slipping into a swamp built from the lowest common denominator of pop speech.

I can’t change the world, but at least I can assure I don’t contribute to the problem. So can you.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Cell phones have apparently convinced people it's their civil right to speak anywhere anytime around anyone as loud as they want. Since I travel a great deal I see this almost daily, or at least every time I enter an airport. It's not just that people talk loudly right next to others. It's that they talk loudly next to others about their business, personal life, and other used-to-be private matters.

I know I run the risk of being labeled an old curmudgeon on this one, but here's my analysis and a few recommendations...if they aren't drowned by cell phone conversations.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at


Tattoos are not going to say good-bye anytime soon. Actually, body art is resurgent. And phenom or fad, tattoos haven’t yet reached their cultural peak.

In a recent article, “To Tattoo or Not Tattoo? Up to You?” I noted the prevalence of tattoos among the younger set, the fact that Scripture doesn’t mandate a no-tattoos position, the number of questions one could ask in discerning whether to get a tattoo, and what tattoos might “say” in early 21st Century culture.

Body art of some kind has apparently graced human skin since shortly after the Garden of Eden. Yet one would do well to remember that body art in its current manifestation is a fashion fad, and by definition, fads are here today gone tomorrow. But there will be no tootaloo to tattoos anytime in the near future.

While I can’t say tattoos are wrong or even necessarily bad, I don’t understand why people want to paint their skin permanently. Especially I don’t understand when the painted imprint in question is large, publicly displayed, grotesque, or simply one of many. They’re not my preference. But to each his own.

Tattoos are better, I guess, than piercing. This I truly cannot understand, for in my estimation piercings are about pain, not pleasure, beauty, or even functionality. The entire aesthetic conjures images of debasement. Unlike tattooing, I believe you can make a moral argument against piercings. But even here, I admit, there is no clear mandate one way or another in Scripture and you have to wonder where to draw the line: five or six piercings or what about just two, pierced ears featuring earrings on posts?

So where does this leave us? Perhaps it’s all a matter of liberty of body, mind, and soul. And such liberty is anything but a bad thing.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

I suggest cellphone-Jammers. If we ask, someone will build it.
"Thanks" for reminding everyone to express appreciation. Learned a new word -- zeitgeist -- had to look it up.