11. TV is the great “agenda setter.”
It irritates me. It embarrasses me too. Part of the reason I watch TV is to “keep up.” To make sure I am “current,” up-to-date, and “in the know” concerning the latest. Television tells me what is important to talk about at church or people I know. The great sin in modern society is to be “out of touch.” I want to be aware of my world, so I can talk intelligently about what is going on.
The trouble is, what the TV tells me is important really isn’t. It is trivial, silly, even idiotic. Last year it constantly instructed me to talk about Michael Jackson and now Tiger Woods. Next year it will have a whole new agenda. Not one of these things is really important at all, let alone biblically important. TV-watching causes me to adopt a secular agenda in my discussions. I need to talk more about God, godliness, holiness, righteousness, and the God’s truths, not the passing trivia of the TV agenda. I resent being controlled by this one-eyed master in my family room. Don’t you think I ought to just unplug the thing?
12. Even the news doesn’t redeem TV.
I wish it did, because I’m one of those persons with a special affinity for CNN and Fox News. But, to be honest, most of the news is not about the Godly issues facing men and women today. Since local news shows generate significant income for local TV stations, they fall to the tremendous pressure to grab ratings by scandalous stories, titillating topics, and staged video. Murders, rapes, tragedy, and a host of stories reflecting a dangerous world are the constant fare. The more I watch, the more I’m taught that people are not to be trusted and the world is a dangerous place. No wonder people feel aliented in our nation. No wonder it’s an unspoken rule not to talk to anyone on an elevator or say hello to someone passing by. National news is worse. I remember how I was glued to CNN during the Gulf War. It seemed like such an important thing at the time. But, now that I reflect on it, just what was I watching? I was watching the terror of war—thousands of people being killed—and I sat in my living room, with a snack, watching it all as if it was an entertaining video game. Shame on me! Even the news hasn’t redeemed the overall general negative effect of television. I really ought to quit fooling myself by saying otherwise. I ought to just unplug it.
13. TV is addictive.
Sixty-four percent of Americans say TV has a negative effect on family life, according to Gallup. A full two-thirds say that TV has a negative effect on children, and 62% argue that TV promotes negative values. Then why do we watch? Why to I watch? Because it is a habit. TV is the “plug-in drug.” It is more addictive than tobacco or alcohol or pornography. How do you know you are addicted? You try to stop! You unplug all the TV sets in your home. You see how you feel. See what happens. See how long you can go without television and I might add DVDs. As for me, I’m addicted. I need it. But it’s bad for me. Isn’t this a perfect example of addiction? I ought to unplug it. I shouldn’t be addicted to anything except God.
14. It’s getting time to vote.
I don’t mean in a political election. I mean vote for something bigger. Christians in North America are rapidly coming to the place where we are going to have to “vote”—either for the culture or against it. Many Christian leaders are increasingly convinced that the only Christians in the future will be those who have “come out” of the culture to live different lives, based on the values of the Bible, not the latest values of the most popular talk shows. Perhaps we do not yet live in “Sodom.” But once we do, separation is the only option. When this time comes (and it may not be far off,) my hunch is that many Christians will vote to stay in Sodom. They will have been so seduced by the world that they will keep on trying to be “salt” until they eventually “lose all their savor.” Yet a few—a “remnant”—will vote to reject the culture and will start to live their lives on Christian principles and behaviors.
Re 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
It has happened dozens of times through history. It may be about to happen again. When that time comes, how will I vote? Will I be so softened and seduced by Sodom that I’ll try to stay with an anemic attempt to “be a witness”? Or will I have the guts to reject Sodom’s culture and become “peculiar” or “separate”? If I can’t make a little decision on something like unplugging our televisions, how will I be able to make a decision on the really big issues in life? This could be a good test for me. I ought to unplug my TVs as a test of my ability to resist the evil culture. Even if I only did it for a week, it would show me something. Wouldn’t it?
15. Because of where TV is going.
I’ve been studying the TV-media industry the last few months. I’ve got a feel for where it’s headed. In the future, we will have hundreds more cable channels to watch, providing a vast array of “whatever you want.” Since cable is not restrained by broadcast standards, it will be able to provide even more of “what people want.” What do they want? They want sex. They want violence. They want nudity. They want blood. No, they don’t say they want these things. In fact, they condemn them noisily in all surveys, acting as if they’re the silent “moral majority.” They condemn them, but they watch such shows. They consistently drive up the ratings of shows featuring sex and violence. Titillation sells. And TV is about selling. It is about ratings. When we only had three channels, the TV executives provided some restraint among themselves. But with hundreds of channels, the competition will drive all of the shows to feed the base desires of men and women. Will TV get worse? The answer is obvious.
And what about interactive television? In the future, we will no longer just watch a couple go to bed or undress, we will be able to control their actions interactively. In the future, we will see a merger of the TV, the CD-ROM, the computer, and the phone line. It is a leap of significant moral consequences from watching to directing actions of sex or violence.
Does that seem far out and impossible? Consider the video games our kids play today. Aren’t alot of them geared toward interactive violence, sexually demeaning of women, and promiscuity? We wouldn’t have dreamed this possible 50 years ago, nor would it have come to mind. Do those three words ring a bell?
…..and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it even come into my mind. (Jer. 19:3-5)
And all this is just the beginning. In the next fifteen years along with homosexual love being “normal,” it will be whatever your heart “desires.” If one has no restraint on sexuality, what else can we have on the horizon? God may even be openly mocked. There will be “artistic joking,” picturing goats, women, or two lesbians hanging on a cross. There will be direct promotion of anti-Christ values and, just perhaps, even promotion of the Antichrist himself. Certainly, this is where it will go, won’t it? All you have to do is continue the line on the graph—project the rate of past change into the future.
But all of this will happen gradually. That’s the terror of television. It seduces us. It tempts us a tiny bit at a time, never overtly, and always with our willing participation—we go along. So most of us will gradually accommodate all of these things, and worse. Why not? Most of us now watch things we never dreamed we’d watch ten years ago. How did we get here? Gradually.
So, what should we do? I wonder what it would be like if our church went together and just unplugged our televisions. Possible? OK, maybe not. How about trying a one-week “unplugged” experiment? Just one week? Are you up to it? Think you can go off TV cold-turkey … even for a week? Just one week? Shall we try it? If we all went off the plug-in drug together maybe we could do it?
What do you think? Wanna try?
15 Reasons I Should Unplug My TV PART II
*** The above three posts have been based on an article written by Keith Drury. I have added my comments throughout. Thank you Keith! www.tuesdaycolumn.com