A Declaration To The Spiritual Soldier

A Spiritual Fitness Ministry

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pt. 2 A Christian Perspective, A Year Without Television By Minister Speed

Morals and values, commonly accepted beliefs of right and wrong, are reflected in a person's actions, thinking, and emotional reactions. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes repeated viewing of violent television shows changes one's views and increases antisocial attitudes. The American Association for Cancer Research says adolescents who frequently see smoking on television are more likely to smoke.

I think TV and pop culture in general does influence what people perceive being normal and average.  People's moral values are formed in part by what they consider "normal". Things that people consider "normal" and "moral" today might have seemed outrageous a hundred years ago. Morals are created in the context we live in, which is not the same for everyone.  (For example, there are those that consider viewing porn "normal", and there are those who don't. I imagine you could find those who consider stripping no big deal, a harmless diversion enjoyed by "normal" men, and you will no doubt find people who find strip clubs immoral.  

Today's TV programming: glorifies crime, violence, sex, deceitfulness, and greed.  It glorifies the police state, gangsters, scams, swindles, dysfunctional society, dysfunctional families, money worship, and views moreover the constant police state verses the criminal elements and murders as if only these awful things are the only thing that the TV viewer wants.

Look at it this way, that old liar Satan is constantly looking to influence your beliefs. He is constantly looking for a way into your head and heart, constantly seeking to make you think that selfishness (sin) is normal and acceptable and you shouldn't trouble your little head about it. He is constantly trying to make you question God. His favorite tactic is to ask you, "Did God really say that?" whether by asking you directly as he did to Eve in the garden.  Satan is constantly seeking to undermine the government of God and the battle field is taking place in the minds and hearts of mankind So the wise Christian learns to ask if there are any of those Satanic messages or questions in TV.  

The answer would have to be yes.  There are so many you almost can't count them all.   TV does affect your moral values at the very deepest core. It makes you question whether your morals and values are worth having simply by constantly questioning their worth, constantly questioning whether they are moral.  And by affecting them in that manner, you accept it without question.  It is so subtle that you don't even notice it is happening. I mean, the very existence of this message  is proof that it does, because TV has taught you that there has to be scientific proof that it is affecting your morals whereas you would have known without proof that it was in times past, simply because you would have recognized the constant questioning of your values and the constant attack they were under.
If that isn't enough to convince you, then look at the TV programs themselves. TV producers keep pushing the envelope in the direction of sin, but slowly enough that you accept that drift. Fifty years ago, you didn't swear on TV. You didn't show couple sleeping in the same bed or a pregnant woman, not because a married couple sharing a bed or a pregnant woman is morally wrong, but because children deserved to be innocent and families deserved to be allowed when and how they wanted to tell their children about sex. That discussion was not to be forced upon a family at the discretion of a television program. You certainly didn't push something more adult upon a family's children than sharing a bed or pregnancy. Over the last fifty years the envelope has been pushed until the graphic sexual discussion that like Two and a Half Men is allowed on TV.  Now we have to discuss graphic sex with our young children, or turn the TV off. Can you guess which I've done?

Over 6 hours a day are spent by the average American family watching movies, television or videos. Dick Rolfe, movie and television specialist and head of the Dove Foundation (an organization which identifies movies and videos meeting family standards), remarks "…when you spend that much time watching something, you have just developed new role models and a new window on life.  I think that with the destructive value of some television and movies… [viewers] get the wrong impression and a distorted view of what life is really like. 

Dr. Ted Baehr of the Christian-based “Movie Guide” comments, "It certainly is causing us to have a society that's being corrupted and cancerously destroyed in terms of its moral values."  According to Rolfe, arguments about the harmlessness of movies on our society don't ring true when compared with over 6,000 independent studies that prove exactly the contrary. Recently, the cable television industry sponsored a multiple-year study performed by Media Scope.

The study conclusively proved through gathering those existing studies, plus the addition of its own independent that, in fact, art does lead life - that life does follow art and society does reflect the values of film and television.  However, is decadence in the media the main cause of our society's moral degeneration? Or are there other involved factors being overlooked?

Dr. Michael Sunman, coordinator of The Center for Communications Policy at the University of California at Los Angeles, is doing a three year analysis of the effects of violence on television. Dr. Sunman has lived and taught in Japan and other Asian countries and offers his perspective on the effects of media: I would never want to say that the mass media does not have a powerful influence and effect on people. It does. But that having been said, it is much too simplistic just to blame all of this on TV. And we see that very much when we look at other cultures such as Japan.

The media in Japan is more violent that it is in the United States. But notice the factor such as the structure of the family. In the United States, 30% of children are born out of wedlock. Among African Americans the figure is up to 70%. Compare that with Japan where the figure is about 1%. Teenage pregnancy rates are directly related to that. In the United States, the teenage pregnancy rates are 16 times what they are in Japan. And if you look at Japanese society, the rates of violent crime are much lower than they are in the United States. Murder rates and rates of rape are 1/10th to 1/20th of what they are in the United States. Just blaming film and television for all these problems is much too simplistic if we look at other cultures.

Why does Japan appear to have so much success is controlling the media to not affect its impressionable viewers? Dr. Sunman believes it is because the family structure in Japan is very important. The government has gone out of the way in realizing that an intact family unit is a very important thing to maintain. Governmental policies foster it. Tax policies encourage it. University and school acceptance programs encourage it.

Children born out of wedlock can have a very difficult time in Japanese society. Schools discriminate against illegitimate children and will refuse acceptance. There continues to be a sense of shame in Japan in looking upon children born out of wedlock. Japan has an intact family structure and that is incredibly important in terms of why the rate of violent crime in Japan is incredibly low.  

Why is a more intact family less susceptible to violence portrayed in media? There are multiple factors, but perhaps the most relevant one is parental involvement in children's lives whereas in America it is commonplace to have upward of 70% of some American Families have single parent household. This anomaly is look upon as the norm and carries with it no social stigma nor is there a concerted effort by local, state, and governmental agencies to correct this issue through National policies.

Child psychologist Dr. Debra Kowalski emphasizes:

If your child is watching television and you see something inappropriate that's coming around the bend and you interfere with that and stop it, you've given that child a very important message: you've taught them that that is not appropriate for them. If a parent goes with a child to a movie theater and there's something inappropriate that's coming on the screen and the parent says, "this isn't for you to see, let's leave," and takes the child out, that's a profound message to the child.  A good value system is extremely important in children's lives, and it must be consistently applied - not just for children, but for adults.

Media watchdog Ted Baehr echoes the need to reinforce proper use of media.

The most important step in helping your children to really be able to use the media properly and to become your allies in the battle in this tidal wave of media that's happening is to help them understand what your values are - to help them understand the difference between good and evil, and what you believe about what makes a man worthy and humble and kind and loving and generous. You need to teach them the things you want them to model. What is the worldview? We live in a real world, created by a real God. Those things are very important. The next step is to get them to understand the media that they're watching by asking the right questions. 'Well, who is the hero? Who is the villain? What is the worldview?'

Dr. Kowalski believes that spiritual values are just not discussed in our society, but that must change. After all, what is the most important thing for us to be concerned about? Spiritual values.  Taking control of our TV set will not eliminate the moral issues from our lives. Everyone needs a proper value system in order to deal with the media and other aspects of life. And that means recognizing that it's not our personal desires that determine what's right or wrong.

Many in our society today have been taught that there are no moral absolutes. God clearly disagrees. He calls us to live righteously and guide our families in everything we do - even watching TV. There are absolutes and they are outlined for us in the Bible. Based on my many years of study, I and many committed Christians firmly believe that Christians need to "live up to what Christ is calling us to do and be… There are absolutes - absolutely, without question."

Our Savior has given us His words about the way into eternal life, yet most do not understand His words. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, few there be that find it.” HE has warned us that few find this way into eternal life; and the great reason that few find this way is that few really want to give up the love of the world and what is in it, and, because so many love the world and what is in it, they are cut off from the Spirit of God!

Therefore, because of their love for the worldly things, they cannot simultaneously love the Lord our God with all of their hearts, minds, souls and strength, which is the first greatest commandment. “For, no servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon!”(Luke 16:13).

Most want to mix the things of the world with their spiritual walks and as a result there are great, great numbers, who are lukewarm in their spiritual walks! You must surely know what our Savior says about those, who are lukewarm in their spiritual walk: “I know thy works, that thou are neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou are LUKEWARM, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth (Rev. 3:16).”

Oh, Lord, our Mighty King; have mercy on your people for they are stalked from every side. Have mercy on their souls, oh Blessed Savior; for the time of great travail is upon us all. My brothers and sisters the word is clear.  The way into salvation is a strait and narrow way.  There is no other way.  If you continue to pollute your soul with things of this world, you will become lukewarm in your spiritual walks, or will become totally cut off from the Spirit of God.  


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