article: Thou shalt not steal
Tuesday, May 25 at 4:19 a.m.
By Katharine Mieszkowski (May 25, 2004)
Christian teens are just as eager to file-swap copyrighted music as any other youngsters. But if the word of God gets spread, would Jesus give a damn?

Jonathan McPherson, 23, believes that file-trading copyrighted music is a sin.

Last year, the computer science graduate student at the University of California at Davis wearied of explaining to his friends -- many of whom, like him, are Christian -- why he couldn't accept CDs of ripped tunes. So he published a spirited critique of the practice on his Web site, titled "On File-Sharing Networks and Civil Disobedience: A Christian Perspective."

McPherson, whose musical taste runs from electronic ambient to Celtic music and piano ballads, argues that even if Christians don't agree with current copyright laws, they still have an obligation to follow them, because they're the law of the land. With a nod to Romans 13, he writes, "Our government has been established by God, and we ought to obey its rules unless they conflict with God's rules ... Is the pleasure of entertainment worth the moral price of lawbreaking? I don't think so."

The record companies would undoubtably love it if today's music-pirating teens switched gears and came around to McPherson's viewpoint. But their problem is that McPherson's tough line on the morality of zapping around fave Enya tunes puts him firmly in the minority, even among devout believers. Because it doesn't make any difference if you prefer gospel or death metal; you're still just as likely to file-swap.

A recent study commissioned by the Gospel Music Association found that born-again teens file-trade just as much as their not-saved peers.

"I think that we perhaps naively hoped that the Christian teens would have been taking the moral high road," says John W. Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association. "Among teens, they just don't see it as a moral issue. Ninety percent of them don't see illegal downloading as wrong. It may be illegal, but everyone is doing it." A survey of 1,448 teenagers, including both Christians and their peers "of other faith commitments," found that 80 percent had engaged in one type of music piracy or another in the last six months. Among Christian teens that number was nearly the same -- 77 to 81 percent....

Something to think about. If you're interested, you can read the rest at Once you're at the site, click on "Free Day Pass" to read the whole article after watching a short ad.

What if I Stumble?

The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today
Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips
Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.
That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.

What if I stumble?
What if I fall?

Is this one for the people?
Is this one for the Lord?
Or do I simply serenade for things I must afford?
You can jumble them together, my conflict still remains
Holiness is calling, in the midst of courting fame

Cause I see the trust in their eyes
Though the sky is falling
They need Your love in their lives
Compromise is calling

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall?

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
You never turn in the heat of it all
What if I stumble, what if I fall?

Father please forgive me for I can not compose
The fear that lives within me
Or the rate at which it grows
If struggle has a purpose
On the narrow road you've carved
Why do I dread my trespasses will leave a deadly scar

Do they see the fear in my eyes?
Are they so revealing?
This time I cannot disguise
All the doubt I'm feeling

What if I stumble?
Everyone's got to crawl when you know that
You're up against a wall, it's about to fall
Everyone's got to crawl when you know that

I hear You whispering my name You say
"My love for You will never change" never change

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
You never turn in the heat of it all
What if I stumble, what if I fall?
You are my comfort, and my God

Is this one for the people, is this one for the Lord?