I have to admit, I am pretty out of it, because I don’t have cable television. Yahoo.com and other homepages have the news on them, but I don’t really care about the news because it usually is sensational and fascistic. I am not particularly afraid of people that live across an ocean that can only get into this country because they let them in. It seems to me to be a hypocritical fear.
There is not a single television show that interests me. I used to really like following sports, but it is hard to get enthusiastic at the end of the day about something that is so trivial.
Ultimately, the main issue is with distraction. Meaningless entertainment takes us away from studying the Scripture and enjoying our time with our friends and family.
However, all of these things are personal to me. I don’t think they are necessary for a Christian to practice.
Nonetheless, I don’t hold smutty television and movies to this standard. What has made me think about this is a very good blog post from DesiringGod.com which lays out why it is unacceptable to watch shows such as Game of Thrones.
In one way, because I live in such an insulated bubble, it is to me unthinkable why a Christian would make a practice out of watching such a television show. I suppose it can have some entertainment value outside of the sex, however. If this be the case, then one has to constantly have his or her finger on the fast forward button to skip past it and when one is caught by surprise, turn her/his head.
At what point do you get tired of watching something you can’t look at every five minutes, anticipating the next next titillating scene which your spirit hates but your flesh strangely likes? I just find it easier to avoid it outright.
One of the last times I watched cable television was the Super Bowl at a friend’s house. Even a sporting event is close to unwatchable, because every other commercial compels me to turn away and every cheerleader bending down to show off her chest is another sight to be avoided.
This sort of nonsense just solidifies in my mind why I hate television. There is close to nothing it has to offer me. It’s not entertaining, it’s not informing, and almost everything on it is sinful. At what point does the Christian say “enough’s enough” and want to throw his cable box out the window?
Job spoke truly, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman” (Job 31:1). Only if more Christians put that into practice by not indulging in smutty television and websites.
“But that’s legalism!,” the antinomian replies. We got to drop that accusation of “legalism.” Legalism is when we invent rules who’s intent is to prevent us from offending God, only to in practice abrogate what God commands us in the Scripture. Not watching smutty TV is as legalistic as not going to a strip joint. It is simply common sense.
We have to rise above the notion that all rules by default are “legalism” and admit to ourselves that we do things all the time that we know are flagrantly against God’s will, because we are more concerned with our own. God does not want minimal obedience. Rules in the Scripture are not meant to be followed just enough so then satisfying God we can then go worry about satisfying ourselves. Rather, we are compelled to “take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). We want maximum obedience. Ideally, every single action and thought is predicated upon what decision glorifies God most.
So, when I read the Scripture compelling me not to commit adultery with my eyes, I actually take every effort possible not to. Now, if I were a legalist, I’d tell you my methods are best and you are compelled to follow them. However, that is not my contention. Do whatever works for you that does not lead you to contradict the Scripture.
However, for the life of me, I just don’t see how the majority of cable television and Christianity can be reconciled to one another, other than by an atoning sacrifice on a cross 2,000 years ago.