books, movies, etc and worldview

A Facebook questions was asked:

A question for “Ask the Pastor”
Do you think that the books we read, the music we listen to, the movies we watch, and the people we hang with can influence our lives in negative ways, even if we think they are just creative outlets?

short answer first:

1 Thess 5:21 states:

21 but test them all; hold on to what is good,

In that passage Paul is writing about prophesies and telling the people to test the prophesies. There certainly must be a place for creative outlets. But every writer and movie producer certainly has their own worldview and that worldview does come through in their writings and movies. I have thought if God is too pure to look upon sin and sin is against God, should I be entertained by sin? I know that I am guilty as I have been entertained by the Office and Big Bang Theory. I have been entertained by violent shows such as 24 (a new favorite), and movies like Braveheart. Certainly friendship of the world is enmity with God (James 4:4). In Romans 12:1-2 and Paul exhorts us not to be conformed to the pattern of this world. In John 17 Jesus says that we are in the world but not of the world.

So, I think there is a line which is different for all where something is corrupting them and wrong to watch or listen to. However, some things are so filthy that no one should take part in them. Ephesians 6:12 states: “It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” Examples may be pornography. On another note there are shows like the Simpsons that may be humorous but show extreme disrespect for parents. This violates the Ten Commandments (Ex 20), kids watch this and copy it.

Below I am posting a sermon I preached on the Challenge of the Media. It has several quotes about the media’s effect on people. I also can allow anyone to barrow a DVD message by Dr. Bill Brown, President of Cedarville University, he speaks a lot about worldview.

Introduction:

The media world affects us all in many ways.  media greatly affects our kids. But I think that media effects us all in mnay ways. Actually, I think it creeps up on us and we don’t even notice it. But how does the media effect us? Is the media all bad? What is the media?

When I say media I am talking about television, movies, video games, cell phones, music, and anything else that is used for entertainment. I would like to say that the media is not all bad. The media is not even half bad. The media is not bad at all. However, there is something that is bad and that is the abuse of the media.

The media causes us to think or dwell on things. They know that we do and we know that. If it wouldn’t cause us to think or dwell on things there would be no point in watching television. There would be no point in listening to music, or playing video games. If it didn’t work there would be no point in advertising. Think about it, a comedy is to bring humor. It takes our minds off of day to day living and makes us feel good.

Now let’s look at what the Bible says about the media. Let’s look at Philippians 4:8

8     Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.[1]

  1. When gauging whether media intake is right or wrong we know we should think on:
    1. Whatever is true:
      1.                                                               i.      I don’t think that this means that it is wrong to be entertained by a story that is fiction. But I don’t think we shouldn’t be entertained by gossip. This more applies to the news and magazines and such. I think we must also be careful about being entertained by something that gives is a false idea of the spiritual world.
    2. Example: “Sociologist s conducted a survey of 104 of Hollywood’s elite, asking the most influential writers and producers a number of idealogical questions. The findings showed:
      1. 93 percent seldom or never go to worship services;
      2. 97 percent believe in a woman’s right to abort;
      3. 16 percent agree that adultery is wrong;
      4. 99 percent believe that television should be ‘more critical’ of Judeo-Christian values” Luce, Ron. Battle Cry For a Generation. Cook Communication Ministries, Colorado Springs, CO. 2005. Page 38
      5.                                                             ii.      That will come out in the media we take in. We must be careful of it.
    3. We must think on whatever is honorable: This means we should think on that that is dignified, that that is worthy of respect. Apply this to today
      1.                                                               i.      Is the extreme sexual content in the movies and video games worthy of respect?
      2.                                                             ii.      Even back in the 60’s John Wayne was against nudity and sex in movies. John Wayne said, “No one in any of my pictures will ever be served drinks by a girl with no top to her dress.”
    4. We must think on whatever is right. This means that it is right with God’ standards.
      1.                                                               i.      Why should we be entertained by sin?
      2.                                                             ii.      God saved us from that sin. Christ dies for that sin.
        1. What about extreme violence: “In November 2002, an Ohio girl was beaten to death by a 15 year old boy with one of the posts from the victim’s bed. (investigators later discovered that the boy’s favorite way to kill in the video game Grand Theft Auto was to use a baseball bat.) The boy then stole her car, as players do in the game. Witnesses say the murderer played the game for hours, turning into a ‘zombie’ when he played.” Luce, Ron. Battle Cry For a Generation. Cook Communication Ministries, Colorado Springs, CO. 2005. Page 49
        2. “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Rated M for mature: Intense violence or language; may include mature sexual themes. Players become gangsters, getting their kicks by stealing cars. They can relieve the tension of killing other players’ characters by hiring prostitutes to have sex with them in their cars. The sex is off screen, but conveyed by ecstatic moaning, the car’s rocking, and the vibration of the game pad.” Luce, Ron. Battle Cry For a Generation. Cook Communication Ministries, Colorado Springs, CO. 2005. Page 41
        3. A 1984 evaluation of the increase in rape rates in various countries bears close correlation to the liberalizing of restrictions on pornography.
        4. There is a connection between how we are entertained and what we do.
    5. We must think on things that are pure. Pure means without sin.
    6. We must think on things that are lovely. This means things that promote peace rather than conflict.
    7. We must think on whatever is of good repute. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy.
  2. What do we do if nothing meets these qualifications?
    1. There are many Christians with children who don’t own a television
      1. Look at Romans 12:1-2: Rom 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.
    2. We as Christians are not only watching things that include sin we are being conformed to the world. Christ saved us from the world.
    3. Do you ever wonder why you think bad thoughts? Do you ever wonder why you say bad things? Do you wonder why you cannot hear from God? There is no such thing as instant godliness. We will think, say, and do things that are not right if that is what we are meditating on. We will not hear from God if we are too distracted by the world.
  3. There is also a problem with too much media
    1. “Young people average 16 to 17 hours per week watching television. If we add video games and video movie, we find that teenagers spend as many as 35-55 hours a week in front of a screen.” Luce, Ron. Battle Cry For a Generation. Cook Communication Ministries, Colorado Springs, CO. 2005. Page 45

 

Closing:

Media is here to help us with life. It is not here to take our lives away. But that is what is happening. We as a country are going to have grave consequences if we don’t put a limit on our media intake. We are going to have grave consequences if we don’t put a limit on our children’s media intake. In 2Cor 10:5 Paul says that he holds every thought captive. In 1Thess 5:21 Paul says to test everything. Everything is sending us a message. We must test them. In the youth ministry we will be studying the effects of the media over the next 4 weeks. As you enter this new year, I want to challenge you whether you may need to change the quality and or the amount of media that you intake.


aRom 14:18; 1 Pet 2:12

1Or lovable and gracious

2Lit ponder these things

[1]New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Php 4:7). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

 

3 thoughts on “books, movies, etc and worldview

  1. I think the media is pushing the culture farther and farther away from God, we really need to be observant and careful and push the off button when something comes up that we know is taking our minds and thoughts the wrong way.

  2. Thank you for the in-depth reply. It is not easy battling the media while trying to raise children to be respectful, honest, and true. I have to say, that when we deceided to “disable the cable” a few years ago, I noticed a dramatic change in the amount of time the kids spent in front of the television. The newest battle? The ipods/iphones. It seems as if they are always “looking” at something. As long as that something is not objectionalbe, I am okay with it. I trust them but I do check on them, too. Being involved with the Youth Group at FBC has helped them and given them another adult that they can turn too if they need to. I think the future of our youth depends on the influences they receive on a regular basis; and the positive ones they receive from FBC, the Youth group and the church family are some of the best!

  3. There are so many things that our children are exposed to at an earlier age than ever before. It is harder to “shelter” them from things that they are not ready or mature enough to process. I think its important to teach our children to think critically about the messages that are being communicated in media as well as being open to discussions with them about what they are seeing/hearing. Tami you say it right when you use the term “battling the media”.

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