Young People Ask . . .
What About Youth Dance Clubs?
“I had a purpose in going—to have a really good time.”—Shawn.
“I have to be honest, it was fun—it was tremendous fun! A lot of dancing, dancing all night long.”—Ernest.
YOUTH dance clubs have become very popular in recent years. Many youths who are in search of a good time are regulars at such clubs.
Of course, we all like to enjoy ourselves. And the Bible says that there is a “time for joy” and even a “time for dancing.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4, Today’s English Version) However, does a youth dance club offer wholesome recreation? Or is there good reason to think twice before going to one?
While the Bible does not condemn modest social gatherings, it does warn against “revelries,” or “wild parties.” (Galatians 5:19-21; Byington) In Bible times, revelries often gave birth to out-of-control behavior. The prophet Isaiah wrote: “Woe to those who are getting up early in the morning that they may seek just intoxicating liquor, who are lingering till late in the evening darkness so that wine itself inflames them! And there must prove to be harp and stringed instrument, tambourine and flute, and wine at their feasts; but the activity of Jehovah they do not look at.”—Isaiah 5:11, 12.
These gatherings featured the use of “intoxicating liquor” and wild music. They started early and lasted well into the evening. Note, too, the attitudes of the revelers—they behaved as if God did not exist! Little wonder, then, that God condemned such gatherings. How, though, does God feel about what takes place in many youth dance clubs today?
Consider the facts. For one thing, some clubs continue to feature “crowd surfing” and frenzied dancing called moshing. One source states that moshing “developed in the mid-Eighties in post-punk clubs in the US. It grew . . . from ‘slam-dancing’ in which participants slam into each other.” Moshing often involves jumping up and down, violent head shaking, and mock head butting, as well as crashing into other dancers. Broken limbs and cuts are commonplace, and there have also been spinal and head injuries. Death has even resulted. In crowd surfing, a person is lifted overhead by a crowd and rides along on their upraised hands. Many a crowd surfer has been dropped, resulting in injury. It is not uncommon for girls to be groped and touched in inappropriate ways.
Without question, God disapproves of such behavior. After all, his Word commands Christians “to repudiate ungodliness and worldly desires and to live with soundness of mind.”—Titus 2:12.
Music and Drugs
Consider, too, the type of music that is featured at most dance clubs. Some specialize in forms of hard rock or heavy metal, music that is characterized by a pulsating beat and obscene lyrics. But in many clubs rap, or hip-hop, is the music of choice. It is music that is similarly driven by sex, violence, and rebellion. Could exposing yourself to such music in an unwholesome environment affect you? David Hollingworth, a nightclub consultant, said: “Music has a tremendous psychological impact on people. When you put them in large numbers, it can encourage attitudes of an aggressive nature.” Not surprisingly, there has been a spate of violence at dance clubs in a number of U.S. cities. Many people feel it is the direct result of a music scene that glorifies vulgar activity and brutal conduct. *
In recent years drug use has also been a part of the dance-club scene. One researcher stated that “the availability, range and consumption of illicit drugs . . . has been linked to the popularity of dance/club cultures.” In fact, there are drugs popularly called dance drugs. Some who frequent dance clubs even use combinations of drugs. Among the drugs most commonly combined is ketamine (also called special K), which can cause dissociation, delirium, breathing trouble, and neurological damage. Methamphetamine can bring about memory loss, aggression, violence, and possible heart and neurological damage. Particularly popular is the amphetamine-based drug known as ecstasy. It can induce confusion, anxiety, high pulse rate, high blood pressure, and hyperthermia. Some ecstasy users have even died.
The use of illegal drugs goes contrary to the Bible’s command to “cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) Is it wise to place yourself in an environment where drug use is prevalent?
Remember the oft-quoted warning: “Bad associations spoil useful habits.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) Like the revelers in Bible times, most youths who frequent dance clubs do not seem to be concerned about pleasing God. In fact, most could be described as “lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3:4) Do you really want to have close association with such a crowd?
Some may reason that going to a dance club with other Christian youths minimizes the dangers. However, Christian youths who are truly “an example to the faithful ones . . . in conduct” will not likely be willing to go. (1 Timothy 4:12) Even if a group of Christian youths went to a dance club and managed to stick together, the unwholesome music and atmosphere would still be there. They might find themselves in a tense or awkward situation if others invited them onto the dance floor. Some youths have even found themselves in the midst of a fight! The Bible’s words thus prove true: “He that is walking with wise persons will become wise, but he that is having dealings with the stupid ones will fare badly.”—Proverbs 13:20.
Then there is the dancing itself. “Freak dancing” has become very popular, particularly among teenagers in the United States. Typically the dance is done to hip-hop music with its sexually explicit lyrics. Moreover, the dance itself simulates sexual intercourse. The movements of this type of dance have thus been described as ‘sex with clothes on.’
Would a Christian youth want to be involved in this type of dancing? Not if he or she wants to please God, who commands us to “flee from fornication.” (1 Corinthians 6:18) Some may reason, ‘If everyone else is doing it, it can’t be that bad.’ However, the crowd can be wrong. (Exodus 23:2) Have the courage to stand up to your peers and maintain a good conscience toward God!—1 Peter 4:3, 4.
Making the Decision
This does not mean that all dancing is bad. The Bible tells us that King David was overcome with such joy after returning the sacred ark of the covenant to Jerusalem that he was “dancing around . . . with all his power.” (2 Samuel 6:14) In Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, the rejoicing that occurred over the son’s return included “a music concert and dancing.”—Luke 15:25.
Some forms of dancing may likewise be acceptable among Christians in your locality. Even then, balance and good judgment are important. It is much safer to enjoy music and dancing at gatherings of Christians where there is adequate control and supervision than at teen clubs. At well supervised gatherings of Christians, young ones do not segregate themselves but enjoy wholesome association with Christians of all ages.
Granted, there may be some restaurants in your community where music and acceptable dancing are featured. But before accepting an invitation to any such establishment, you would do well to ask questions such as these: What kind of reputation does the place have? Does it cater only to youths? If so, how likely is it to have a wholesome atmosphere? What kind of music will be played? What kind of dancing is done there? How do my parents feel about my going? Asking questions like these can keep you out of harm’s way.
Shawn, quoted at the outset, sums matters up nicely. Before becoming a Christian, he used to frequent dance clubs. He recalls: “There’s a lot of loose conduct in nightclubs. The music is usually debasing, the dancing is usually highly immoral, and a great majority of the people who go there have a motive—they want to leave the club with someone to have sexual relations.” Shawn gave up the club scene after studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. He offers his opinion, based on painful experience: “Those clubs are not the place for Christians.”
^ par. 13 See the article “Why Music Affects Us,” in the October 8, 1999, issue of Awake!
[Picture on page 26]
Some youths have found themselves in awkward situations at dance clubs