Decay By Television

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Martin, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. Martin

    Martin
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    In his book, "Truth Decay", Dr Douglas Groothuis gives three suggestions to help "reverse television's truth-decay effects" on our lives...

    "Engage in a TV-free fast for at least one week and note the changes produced in your thoughts and attitudes."

    "If either the will or the ability to go 'cold turkey' is lacking, create instead TV-free zones and times"

    "Replace television watching with truth-enhancing activities, particularly reading thoughtful books"

    What will happen as a result of taking one or two of these suggestions and putting them to practice...

    Groothuis says that he asks his students to engage in a media fast of some sort. The majority, he says, do a TV-fast. What do they report back?

    "They almost uniformly report that the fast revealed a level of attachment to the tube they did not expect. They did suffer some withdrawal at first. However, they later experienced a calming effect and a more contemplative attitude to life; they found more time for friends, family, and reading. When they went back to watching television, many were shocked to realize what they had not seen when they were habituated and desensitized to this medium: most television programming is insipid, illicit and idiotic" -Truth Decay, pg 293

    So why should we, at the very least, turn the television off for a period of time every day? Because television promotes truth decay. How?

    "Television promotes truth decay by its incessant entertainment imperative. Amusement trumps all other values and takes captive every topic. Every subject -whether war, religion, business, law, or education- must be presented in a lively, amusing or stimulating manner. The best way to receive information interpersonally- through the "talking head"- is the worst way according to television values; it simply fails to entertain (unless a comedy routine is in process). If it fails to entertain, boredom results, and the yawning watcher switches channels to something more captivating. The upshot is that any truth that cannot be transposed into entertainment is discarded by television. Moreover, even off the air, people now think that life (and even Christian ministry) must be entertaining at all costs. One pastor of a megachurch advises preachers that sermons should be roughly twenty minutes in length and must be 'light and informal,' with liberal sprinklings of 'humor and anecdots.'. Just like television, isn't it? The truth is that truth, and the most important truths, is often not entertaining. An entertainment mentality will insulate us from many hard but necessary truths. The concepts of sin, repentance and hell, for instance, cannot be presented as entertaining without robbing them of their intrinsic meaning. Jesus, the prophets and the apostles held the interest of their audience not by being amusing but by their zeal for God's truth, however unpopular or uncomfortable it may have been. They refused to entertain but instead edified and convicted. It was nothing like television." -Truth Decay, pgs291-292

    Douglas Groothuis quotes Bernard Ramm as saying the following, and I believe it is very, very true...

    "No Evangelical whose reading habits are a disgrace to the seriousness of the Christian ministry, or who spends more time before a television set than he does in serious reading in his study has the right to damn Nietzsche from the pulpit to some gruesome place in the Inferno." -Truth Decay, pg267

    What about your reading habits?

    Do you spend more time in front of the TV than...

    --reading your Bible?

    --reading educational books?

    If so, can you change by putting into practice one or two of the suggestions above? I think we would all be better off, in more ways than one, if we did. Don't you?

    Food for thought, for all of us, I hope and pray.
     
  2. James_Newman

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    Television agitates me. When I hear the incessant chattering, I want to put my foot through the tube.
     
  3. Rippon

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    Amusing Ourselves To Death ...

    ... by Neil Postman is a good book on the subject . It's a short treatment on the theme by a Jewish man . A = no ; muse = mind . When you are amusing yourself the mind is not engaged .
     
  4. saturneptune

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    When working the midnight shift, I am especially thankful to C-span, as it is a great way to create background noise in order to get to sleep. Other than that, TV is something I can do without.
     
  5. USN2Pulpit

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    Good article, and right on the mark. I recently went for about ten days without TV at all, and was surprised at what I'd been "zoning out" to. Since then, I've had a marked decrease in TV watching.
     
  6. genesis12

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    My TV viewing came to a hit-'n-miss approach 10 years ago. I look at FOX news when I get up to see if the world has blown up. If they're giggling, or if a commercial is on, that's it for the day. I may check the History Channel, the Travel Channel, or the Discovery Channel periodically, but not on a regular basis. This approach has left me with some serious Bible study time! Who knew?
     
  7. christianyouth

    christianyouth
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    Good article, thanks for posting it. :)

    God Bless,
    Andy
     
  8. Pipedude

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    Ditto.

    Especially interesting are the testimonies of those who realized that their habits contradicted their convictions. Whenever separation is preached, the cries of "legalism" rise up in concert. The result is the slow corrosion of the Christian conscience through continued exposure to that which God hates, all in the name of "Christian liberty" and "you have to control it" and "you can't live in a bubble" etc.
     

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