Living for God should be an unforced decision, so I’m not someone who goes out of his way to try getting laws passed against immoral behaviors, such as prostitution or marijuana. That doesn’t mean I would vote for their legalization, and I certainly don’t say God approves of such behavior. I’m just not that threatened by certain behaviors as long as they are kept out of the public’s view. What confounds me is there are so many churchgoers who will go to great lengths to have immoral behaviors banned, yet they’ll sit in front of a screen that glamorizes the very behaviors they so desperately want banned. They’ll watch shows full of perversion, or watch a Cheech and Chong movie, and then talk about how there should be laws against the things they are entertained by. I have to question the salvation of these people who refuse to “set no wicked thing before [their] eyes” (Ps. 101:3).
Television is probably the greatest threat to Christians today. Let’s be honest. Most churchgoers who claim they watch only decent programs don’t really. It may have started that way, but then they gradually became desensitized. They may have told themselves they would change the channel if someone ungodly came on, but by then they were already so entertained that they decided to “overlook” it. They felt more comfortable doing this the next time and the next, and before long their viewing habits were no different than those of the rest of the world, which Christians aren’t to conform to (Rom. 12:2). That’s not to say Christians must take this concept to the extreme as do the Amish, who broke away from the Mennonites as a new group in the 1690s, thinking their former group was still too worldly. This kind of isolation is unnecessary (I Cor. 5:9-11). Christians need only be separated from the world in behavior by “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts” (Titus 2:12). That means they shouldn’t be watching ungodly TV programs, and the ones who end up bringing “the filth of the world” (I Cor. 4:13) into their homes shouldn’t be surprised if their lives start reflecting what they watch.
I must admit I think some preachers go too far when preaching against TV. I heard one say the program may be decent, but a commercial may show a woman wearing practically nothing. I feel that this is an issue of how often it happens and how much willpower the viewer has to divert his eyes. Why? Because unless you live in near isolation from the rest of the world, like the Amish, it’s almost impossible to avoid exposure to indecency. You might walk by pictures of underwear models in a store, so are you to quit shopping? Or you might walk past someone inappropriately dressed on the street, so are you to stay indoors? Now before you get too encouraged to watch TV, I will say getting rid of your TV if you have one may be some of the best advice you can get. The temptation to be entertained by filth is too great to resist for many, and regarding temptation Jesus said to pluck out your eye and cut off your hand if they cause you to sin (Matt. 5:29, 30). While his words aren’t to be taken literally, they do send the clear message that if your TV causes you to sin, you had better get rid of it. The same could be said of the Internet, so if it’s causing you to sin, get rid of it too. Even if you enjoy reading my blog.
Out of all the reasons given for Christians allegedly being boring, not watching TV for entertainment has to be the dumbest. To me, boring is spending hours in front of a TV when there’s plenty of fun to be had. And I really don’t understand how people can watch reality shows. Do they not have lives of their own? Besides, they’re scripted, just like soap operas. Speaking of which, I wish their main sponsors hadn’t been soap companies when they began as serials on the radio in the 1930s. Had they instead been sponsored by toilet companies, maybe the unclean shows they’ve become would more appropriately be called toilet operas. Heck, I’d like to associate the word “toilet” with just about everything on TV. Aside from really old shows like Leave it to Beaver, there’s probably not a single show for entertainment purposes that Christians have any business watching. Even some educational programs are filth, such as The Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid. With only their front sides blurred, nude contestants test their survival skills in the wild by having nothing with them. Watching it strictly for education sounds like an excuse to me, but even if true, it wouldn’t change the fact that viewers are still seeing nudity. Would a Christian trying to learn about starting a business be justified in entering a strip club if that’s where some business owners met to exchange information? Absolutely not!
I don’t know whether or not decent TV shows are still being produced, but chances are even the ones you think are decent are not. Next time you watch them, pay close attention. They probably have ungodly content you didn’t notice because you’ve become so used to it. What if I told you that old family show Step by Step is indecent? It really is. In one episode the mother takes great pleasure in getting to sketch a male nude model in an art class. Her jealous daughters then try getting her to let them join the class so that they too can lust over this man’s body. And in another episode her daughters and their step sister are discussing their immoral fantasies about men, ending with a discussion about men’s butts. I’m sure there are people reading this who think I’m overreacting. They might say, “You have to quit nitpicking and let that stuff slide.” It’s just “a little” immorality here and there, they reason. What they’re really saying is entertainment should be valued more than loyalty to God. Instead of demanding that TV programs clean up their content, they’re demanding that Christians give in to evil.
As one of the most popular sitcoms ever, I like to target Seinfeld when pointing out how filthy TV is. So popular that even a lot of pastors watch this show that is full of sexual immorality ranging from typical fornication to a contest over masturbation. They should be ashamed of themselves for watching something that normalizes things they (hopefully) preach against. They’re setting an example that will send people to Hell, a place that’s a laughing matter in another episode, in which Elaine’s pseudo-Christian boyfriend could be a representative for the Seinfeld fans who call themselves Christians. To be fair, I will say many of them watch things they shouldn’t out of ignorance. They’ve let down their guard and allowed themselves to be deceived into thinking God permits them to watch what they do. I’ve been there myself. At first I was in denial when I started thinking about some of what I watched. I didn’t want to believe it, because I enjoyed the entertainment. It feels good to be over that now.
The world is so saturated with filthy entertainment that some of it is passed off as pro-Christian. I once heard someone bring up the Jim Carrey movie Bruce Almighty to make a biblical point. It does present some Christian values, such as God allowing people to make choices in life. But if you’ve seen it, do you remember the scene that shows Bruce using God’s power to lift a woman’s dress with the wind? Or using his new power to have better-than-usual sex with a woman he’s not married to? Many of the churchgoers who laughed at those filthy scenes would hypocritically say it’s wrong to laugh at dirty jokes. I hope they eventually decide to give up that kind of filth. Hard as it may be, it can be done. In my own case it was especially difficult because I was in prison where there’s regular boredom and TV was a great escape for me. It took me years to overcome that vice. From then on all I watched was the news and some educational programs. Not everyone is that strong when it comes to TV, so even though there’s nothing wrong with merely having one, getting rid of it may be a great idea.
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