The Television Mentality

January 10, 2014

The Television Mentality

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

            In large measure, our character is formed by the way we think.  Our way of thinking is inevitably influenced by our environment; such as what we see and hear.  For that reason, we need to give serious consideration to the impact that television has on our way of thinking.

A believer needs to be careful about that which has an influence over his way of thinking.  There are many changes that God wants to make in us.  The changes made in us by the influences around us may not be those that God wants to make in us.   When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus he made them aware of the fact    that in time past they “Walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2).  Then he went on to talk about the change that Christ had made in them.

Most people finish grade school, a few less finish high school, apart from that, their major source of education is the television.  Many children spend more time in front of the television than they do in the classroom.  The majority of young people and adults also spend much time watching television.  What are they learning?

The television influences our thinking, but it doesn’t help us think right.  Our mind is carried along by what we see and hear, but we don’t learn how to analyze what we hear.  It doesn’t help us reason.  It has the potential to fulfill that need, but for the most part, it doesn’t.  Most people accept what they hear on the television without giving any thought as to whether it is right or not.

When we read, we can stop to think about what we are reading.  We can go back and read it again.  We can speed read or read slowly if we need to concentrate on it.  It takes more effort to read.  It is a mental exercise.  To the contrary, the television keeps moving on without giving us time to think about what we hear.

Television works by means of images and impressions.  While watching television we are seldom asked to make decisions.  More often than not, especially in the commercials, we are told what to do.  It is possible to convince people of many things if they hear it over and over again.

Not only does the television fail to educate people, it corrupts their minds. Sometimes the commercials are more pornographic than the program they sponsor.  After seeing and hearing over and over again examples of a dissident life style, we are inclined to accept it.  Many people don’t have enough character to turn off the television when the programing is indecent.  Some families find it to their advantage to be without a television.  They don’t have the arguments about what programs can be watched and how much time can be spent watching television.

Some say, “All I watch on television is the news.” That’s commendable, but even the news reports come in such rapid succession that we hardly have time to evaluate one report before another one comes on.  Those with discernment are aware of the fact that many times news reporters report the news from their point of view.

It is required of Christians that they be a thinking people.  David wrote the hymn book of the Jews (the Psalms) many years before the television was invented.  In Psalm 101:3 he gave us some important advice that we do well to heed.  He said, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”  The great majority of the actors on television have low moral standards.  If we frequently watch their movies it is almost inevitable that we will accept their standards.

Unfortunately, many professing Christians are negligent when it comes to thinking.  Seldom do they ask themselves: “Is that right?  Is this honoring to God” Should I be thinking this way?  Should I do this?” It takes self-discipline to think and think right.  It takes even more self-discipline to do right.  Philippians 4:13 gives us the promise that we can.  “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” The self-discipline to control the television is included in those “all things” that we can do.

In Romans 12:2 we find a command of extreme importance.  “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” In this short article we can’t adequately analyze that verse.   It shows us the importance of our mind and of the need of keeping it clean.  Very little of what television offers us will be of any help in fulfilling that commandment.  It is best done by reading the Bible and giving thought to what it tells us.  That will give us discernment as to what programs we should watch.  It also serves to annul from our minds the wicked images and thoughts that television plants in them.

You need to take control of your life.  Instead of being conformed to this world, as it is seen on television, you need to be conformed to the will of God.  Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Then in Philippians 4:8 we read “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”




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