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TV - Whats Happened to Our Society?

Well, I've watched TV five times now...that probably sounds sound strange doesn't it? But it's true.

You might know this already, but it's been almost six years since we've had TV.  We've never paid for TV and when we moved here, the only choices were to pay for TV or buy expensive antennas. So we opted for nothing. But in this visual blackout, it's not that we've been in the dark all these years. Rather, between the Internet, magazines, Bloomberg Radio, and Netflix, we've been pretty well connected. 

But then, a couple of weeks, ago, Verizon started having all kinds of crazy problems with our Internet. Our speeds went to .14 mps (that's POINT ONE FOUR). Yikes! That's PAINFULLY slow, especially as web designers!

Well, after a couple of weeks of in/out slow/slower/slow service, Verizon 'sort of' told us that they couldn't fix the problem. So, alas we had to convert to Comcast, and of course, after rebates and all, the cheapest option was to include TV with our bundle. So now... we have working TV.

A bit like Rip Van Winkle, we are shocked and saddened by what we are seeing. What dismays us most is that for us, it is clear that the world has taken a turn down a dark and sinister course since we last watched regular TV five years ago. In the five times we've watched it since we've gotten it activated, literally **every time** has been distressing. 

I suppose you can tell us that part of the problem is what we are watching-- afterall, it's our choice to watch the news, or Fox TV or the A&E show "Hoarders". Yet at the same time, come on, it's the 10 O'Clock news right?

Yet quickly and unexpectedly, the news or the commercials take a turn that throws out an image or sound bite meant to shock me or draw me in. Whether its a 911 call of a person calling/dying, or the serious curse words said during a commercial, or just the dragging out of the lives of very cracked pots; the result is that I'm forced to hear or see something that is truly heart-breaking, disturbing, unsettling, etc.

Now I know what the common answer is: you can't live in a bubble and these things really happen, so we can't turn a deaf and blind ear to them. While that is true to an extent, and yet all these years I have not been blind to them. Like I mentioned, I have found, by and large, that my Internet news sources, and my weekly/bi-weekly magazine subscriptions, have given me an equal if not deeper insight into the realities of this world. Often I'm the most informed person in the conversation. The only times I am at a disadvantage has been having the heart-pain that many people have watching all day coverage of school shootings, natural disasters, etc. 

But what I'm seeing on TV is especially troubling because it's reality shows degrading into voyeurism and freak side shows, but with a bleak, nihilistic, hopeless perspective. It is painfully obvious to me that over the past five years, that the American public has increasingly become calloused/immune/inoculated/desensitized to life. The TV stations are out-shocking one another with ever-increasing tantalization hoping to grab more eyeballs and advertising dollars. PT Barnum maxim is being lived out to its grossest extent: "you can never underestimate people's bad taste." 

Aside from the obvious moral implications that are most important to me as a pastor (an unholy society that rejects God is doomed both in this world and in eternity) but from sheer logic, we are collectively wounding our souls as a nation. Within us is God's holy image. Within us (for those who are born again) we are filled with His Spirit. Within our hearts is the conscience, designed by God, to be warning lights to trouble. And yet, TV is marring God's holiness within us as our minds are focused, each evening, on topics/themes/images that dishonor Him. He cannot be with us during those hours in front of that TV. Thus, the hours we watch TV are by and large hours out of fellowship with Him. No wonder there is such joylessness in our country! 

Likewise, by having all of these gruesome images paraded before us, we develop an incorrect perspective on the dangers and evils of the world around us. While we should never be naive, likewise, it's not as though Charles Manson is crouched below our windows at night. 

Speaking of Charles Manson, all of this evil paraded before us also feeds our flesh to enjoy things that are evil. People who feast on these evil topics each night will actually grow to like, admire and desire to follow these evil doers. The conscience becomes seared and rather than disdaining evil, we are drawn to it. 

Another obvious problem here is that the media is amazingly effective at brainwashing its viewers. The media companies have immense budgets to present their doctrines in the most beautiful, compelling, interesting light. Thus, even if they are wrong, they are able to persuade by the sheer quality of their presentation. As I watch these shows, I keep looking over to my wife and saying to her, "the world is insane!" Indeed, it clearly is.

Well, I could go on and by now you're probably not thrilled to hear what I'm saying. These are just some quick thoughts in this early stage of having TV. Am I glad I have it? I'm not sure. Still looking for something redeeming about it that is better than the time I spent playing with my kids, working on projects, studying God's far, my favorite part of having Comcast right now are the music channels.

Now, where's my remote???

Last modified on Tuesday, 31 August 2010 22:14
Russ Brewer

Russ Brewer

Rescued from the domain of darkness, transferred to the kingdom of the Son. Undershepherd of Grace. Husband of Corinne. Father of three. Chew-toy to Zeke...