XII. Media Influences
There is a tendency to over-generalize on certain subjects. As a result of that, we sometimes condemn
things that should not be condemned. When
this happens, those who are convinced that there is no wrong in the activities wrongfully
condemned react by rejecting everything else stated in the in condemnation. This lesson seeks to balance that danger.
For example, all popular music is not bad or immoral; all
movies are not sinful, neither are all television shows. Preachers ought not be preaching that all rock
music or all rap music is bad; it's not.
However, the hearers ought not reject everything else stated by a
preacher who would so teach, because some of rock and rap music certainly is bad,
and Christians should pay attention to the dangers. We need to be warned about these dangers, but
there is no scriptural basis for placing a blanket condemnation on all of a
certain style of music.
This lesson will largely become a review of our past study
topics in morality with an emphasis on everyday application. The topics we have considered include the following:
Honesty And Lying
Drinking And Drug Abuse
Immodest Appearance And Indecent Dress
The children's Sunday school song goes, "Be careful
little eyes what you see,… be careful little ears what you hear." What we learn from that song when we were
children comes into direct application as we enter adulthood. The simple truths we might have learned as
children should not be disregarded as we mature. We will never out-grow this instruction.
Power Of Suggestion
The effect that others can have over our minds is
incredible. Things we hear and things we
watch play an important part in our lives. We hear of murder and rape, crime and
corruption, sin and unrighteousness.
Seldom do we hear good news. That
is one reason that each Christian should spend time with God in study of His
The faithful Christian works to live a life which is morally
pure. However, we are constantly
bombarded by the media today through books, radio, television, movies, and the
Internet with things not consistent with a life of purity. Much of what is published today either depicts
or glorifies ungodly living. These
things have an influence on us, whether or not we are aware of it. We should ask whether a can Christian fill
his mind with ungodly messages and examples and not be affected.
Examine these passages which warn of the dangers of evil
Let's consider two examples of men weakened by evil
The example of Lot
Lot chose to live in a wicked city (Genesis
Lot and his family were immersed in a sexually
immoral society (Genesis 19: 5-7).
Lot eventually fell victim to sexual immorality,
no doubt through the influence of living in Sodom (Genesis 19:30-36).
The example of Peter
Peter removed himself from Jesus and associated
himself with unbelievers (Luke 22:54, 55).
There, he was comfortable denying Christ (Luke
To keep up his act among them, he even began cursing
and swearing (Mark 14:71).
It is doubtful that Peter would have done those things if he
had been in the company of other disciples or with Christ.
Matter Of Principles
Think On These Things
In Philippians 4:8, the apostle Paul says to "meditate
on these things."
Whatever things are True
Whatever things are Honest
Whatever things are Just
Whatever things are Pure
Whatever things are Lovely
Whatever things are Reputable
The original word here translated "meditate" in
NKJV is of the same root form as our English word "logic." The meditation implied here is not
unconscious mind wanderings but, as J. H. Thayer would describe it, a computing
or calculating, as an accountant would do, or a taking the weight of all the
Keep Your Mind Pure
We are admonished to expel immoral thoughts from our hearts
and maintain pure ones.
Let's note some ways that our minds can become polluted with
filth and the violation of God's will rather than being of pure mind as the Lord
Media and Morality
Since the 1960's, broadcasting regulations have become
relaxed regarding the content of popular music.
Much of popular music today is not in harmony with a life of
godliness. In particular, the lyrics of
many popular songs have off-color references to sexual activity and
Through the years, some preachers have railed on modern
American and British rock-and-roll music as being immoral in general. Actually, there is immoral content in the
lyrics of almost all music types, not just rock music. Modern American country music, for example, contains
frequent glorification of adultery and drunkenness and the trivialization of
divorce. Through the years as popular
music has become more diverse, there's hardly any style of music today that
does not have some immoral content.
Video technology introduced a new media for music in the
1980's: music videos. Many popular
videos include nudity, murder, blood, sex, adultery, rebellion, violence, and
other similar immoralities. Video
technology also gave rise to a new music form that came to the mainstream in
the early 1990's: rap music, a musical form characterized by lyrics
rhythmically spoken rather than sung.
Though some rap music is of wholesome content, some of it is not.
The mature Christian will regulate the music he chooses to
listen to. Do not think you can exposure
yourself to ungodliness in the music you listen to without restraint and not be
affected by its influence.
A prominent theme of modern movies seems to be illicit sex and
murder. There are few movies anymore
which even worldly standards would not recommend at least parental guidance for
children to watch.
The little screen is just as bad or worse than the big
screen. The most popular shows are those
which expose the most skin. Situation
comedies are often designed to desensitize viewers to homosexuality. People with religious convictions in
television shows are almost always portrayed as being ignorant. We need to learn to shut off the television
when worthless shows are presented.
The televised halftime show during the 2004 Super Bowl
football game generated a lot of controversy when a female performer exposed
her breast. Before this occurred, the
show was filled with lewd dancing and indecent behavior. A Christian sensitive to his needless exposure
to immorality would have turned off that program well before the incident.
Magazines, books, and even some newspapers become
best-sellers depending on how unrighteous, sinful, and sexually explicit they are. Moreover, pornography is largely an
exploitation of women. A Christian
should never read or look at this type of literature. Besides, looking at lewd images and lusting
is clearly condemned in scripture. It is
the fulfillment of fleshly desire in it basest form.
Viewing pornography is a source of excitement to many people
similar to gambling. Researchers believe
that such intense excitement can release chemicals called
"endorphins" within the body which have a drug-like effect and produce
a feeling of well-being. This psychological
exhilaration keeps the viewer coming back for more and more viewing. However, this is no excuse for pursuing
fleshly desires; God calls us to self control.
2 Peter 1:5, 6
The best advise for breaking a bad habit is to develop new,
good habits to replace the bad ones.
Stopping the use of pornography will only be achievable if it is
replaced with other wholesome activities to capture one's time and attention. Find ways to purposefully divert yourself
away from this thing as necessary. It is
a major waste of precious time.
1 Peter 4:1-3
Trade in pornographic materials on the Internet is a booming
business. Note the following facts
(taken from an article which appeared in USA Today, 1/29/99):
There are 16 million Internet users in the USA
under the age of 17.
There are upwards of 20,000 to 30,000
pornographic sites in the USA, grossing $700 million to $1 billion/year
(Forrester Research, Mark Hardie, senior analyst).
Of the 56.8 million individuals on the Web as of
December, 1998, 32.3% visited pornographic sites (according to Media Metrix, an
organization which tracks consumer traffic on the World Wide Web).
While it is a crime to provide pornographic
materials to a minor, many of these Internet sites have pornographic images on
their opening screens.
There is also much concern today in certain locations about
the ill effects associated with the legalization of gambling, but it is already
here - in the form of virtual casinos on the Internet open 24 hours a day! Many people today are hooked on the gambling
addiction, robbing themselves, their families, and the Lord of resources that
could be spent on worthwhile things.
Now, the Internet puts this temptation right in the convenience of your
own home, outside the jurisdiction of local gaming ordinances.
1 Thessalonians 4:11,12
Consider the dangers of gossiping. The Internet permits rapid dissemination of
information: accurate or inaccurate, beneficial or hurtful. Gossip works in much the same fashion as a
nuclear explosion or the transfer of disease.
The spread of malicious tales is aided by the tendency of people to
believe almost anything they read. Some
people find it easier to lie about others if they can write it in an e-mail or
say it into a telephone receiver rather than say it to someone's face.
1 Timothy 5:13
Convenience has always been one of Satan's most useful
tools. He is an opportunist, always looking for ways to make it easier for us
1 Corinthians 2:11
The truth is, we who try to live in a godly manner live in a
sinful world. There is a little bit of
bad in almost everything good in the world.
For a Christian to remove from his life all exposure to the sinful
behavior of others, he would have to effectively live a life in seclusion,
surrounded perhaps by only his family and Christian friends. Then, how could we ever take the gospel to
others, or how could the world ever see Christ living in us?
Romans 12:1, 2
Living in the world but not of the world will require us to
make some choices. Sometimes exposure to
the sinful behavior of others is unavoidable; sometimes it is necessary in
order for the world to see the difference Christ has made in our lives. However, sometimes we need to walk away from
and completely avoid that which is unclean in this world.
1 John 2:15-17
2 Corinthians 6:17
It may be difficult to always know when enough is enough,
but by increasing our knowledge of God's word and making a point to take notice
of our situations, we will be more likely to do the right thing.
Thoughts And Questions For Discussion
you ever yawned because you saw or heard someone else yawn? What does this say about the influence others
can have upon us by what we see them do or hear them say?
computer programming an expression is used: "garbage in, garbage
out." The meaning is that any
computation using corrupted data will only result in corrupted answers. Explain how this principle applies to what
information we put into our minds.
are the comparable percentages of minutes per day that you spend on the
telephone, watching TV, going to the movies, browsing the Internet, doing
homework, doing household chores, and reading the Bible? Consider actually making note of the time
spent and calculating the comparisons.
How would your time spent on the most important things compare to the
another test of exposure, if you are one to watch TV, select a show and make a
written note of each time an ungodly reference is made, whether it be to
homosexual desensitization, unlawful sexual activity, indecency, foul language,
lying, gossip, murder, rape, drunkenness, or any other immoral behavior. Observe carefully; it may be happening more
often than you are consciously aware.
is the best way to break old habits?
the parable of the soils in Matthew 13:3-9 and its explanation in verses 18 -
23. What application of the seed falling
among thorns can be made to our study of media influences?
the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:24-30 and it explanation
in verses 36 - 43. What application of
the tares growing among wheat can be made to our study of media influences?
the parable of the seed among the thorns contradict the parable of the wheat
among the tares? Explain the difference
and its application to our study of media influences.