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A Christian View of Entertainment and Media Choices (Part 2)

Television/ Internet Dominance (continued)

Problems with TV:

  1. TV glamorizes negative role models. How many truly godly or even respectable characters are there on TV shows?

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scoffers!” –  Psalm 1:1

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” –  Proverbs 13:20

 

“Learn not the way of the heathen.” –  Jeremiah 10:2

We ought not to let negative TV characters influence us. Don’t talk like they do, dress like they do, act like they do, etc.

  1. TV exposes the viewer to immorality.

“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.” – Ephesians 5:11-12

Probably the best term to describe the content of many TV shows is vulgar, i.e., base, course, crude, indecent, unrefined, offensive, in bad taste, shocking, rude, disgusting, and/or repulsive. “To be vulgar is to be crude and noisy, to lack reason, contemplation, and any sense of the transcendent.” Watch any prime-time action thriller, cop show, or comedy, and you’ll likely see a great deal of vulgarity in language and behavior.

TV is infamous for “pushing the envelope.” That is, they constantly seek to extend the limits of acceptability. Little by little, they add offensive elements to programming, like profanity, partial nudity, sexually explicit language, vulgar terms, etc. As time passes, things once offensive, shocking and unacceptable become normal and common.

The following are common messages and themes that TV programs promote.

  • Any form of sexual expression is morally acceptable and normal. TV programs often depict relationships that rapidly progress to sexual activity. The risks and ethics of promiscuity are seldom addressed.
  • Homosexuality is normal. More and more, this type of sexual perversion is portrayed on TV as completely normal or some sort of valid alternative lifestyle. Many homosexual characters are now part of the TV landscape.
  • Authority figures are incompetent fools. Teachers, preachers, parents and government officials are often portrayed in a negative light.
  • Violence is an acceptable way of handling problems. It has been proven that watching violent behavior tends to influence the viewer to become more violent. Watching gory horror shows numbs one’s normal sympathy toward the victims of violence.
  1. TV promotes pleasant fantasy over unpleasant reality.

“Gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit.”  – 1 Peter 1:13

TV promotes escapism. It’s very easy to simply “zone out,” become a spectator, and turn off your mental capacities while watching TV. Studies have shown that while watching TV, brain activity is at a very low point. This is very dangerous because it is then that TV has its greatest influence.

  1. TV promotes a materialistic viewpoint

The salient fact is that commercial television is primarily a marketing medium and secondarily an entertainment medium.

The primary reason TV exists is to get money from sponsors, who in turn want consumers to see their products advertised. TV promotes consumerism. The real bottom line is money, not entertainment. The entertaining content of a program is simply the means of getting the most people to tune in and receive advertisement messages. Commercials are often the slickest, funniest, and most entertaining moments on TV.

  1. Other negatives associated with TV:
  • TV displaces active types of recreation and exercise. It may take the place of music, sports and/or peer interaction. This is especially dangerous for those who tend to be shy and withdrawn. If accompanied by snacking, TV viewing may contribute to weight problems.
  • TV discourages reading. Reading requires more brain activity and thinking than watching TV. A decline in reading scores and vocabulary is linked to excessive TV viewing. Once out of school, almost 60% of Americans never read another book. One writer concludes that TV “eats” books.
  • Heavy TV viewing reduces school TV decreases one’s ability to pay attention.
  • TV fosters a skewed sense of reality, a distorted view of the world. Programs often present a problem or situation and solve it in 22 minutes. Characters and situations on TV rarely reflect true conditions. Children up to age 10 have difficulty separating fact from fantasy; they believe what they see on TV.

 

  – David De Bruyn, Professor of Church History, Shepherds’ Seminary Africa

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