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February 23, 2005

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  • What's OK to do/watch?

What's OK to do/watch? (re: the Brain and Morality)

Thank you for this commentary. It had me wondering the following: Is it OK to watch TV programs like Star Trek or others where they sometimes present a view which entertains the notion of other gods or no God? When I watch Star Trek or other Sci Fi I never walk away thinking there's no other god than God. But what you said had me thinking that viewing this stuff somehow "participates" or endorses the message they sometimes send, in the way that watching football makes your brain pattern similar to the players, as you indicated. What's your view on this?

Good question! I suspect there is going to be a lot of "Let each be fully assured in his own mind" (Rom14:5) and living by "faith" of conscience in which one does not "condemn himself in what he approves" (vs22-23) Some are stronger, and some are "weak". (1Co8:11)

Just a personal example of this reference to "weak"ness. Years ago there was a person in the church I was attending, who got sucked into the Moonies. While the 'abduction' was still relatively fresh, along with another person, I went down to Seattle where it was reported that she had been taken. Of course, by the time we got there, she had been whisked away to somewhere else, so we never got to see her. But...before we left, to search for her, I still remember how 'paranoid' some of the people in the church were...WORRIED SICK that, by going in pursuit, that we might get sucked in, ourselves. Well...I can tell you that I was no-where-near any state where that would happen. But in hindsight, I can now see why they would have been so worried...because in hindsight, I presently realize that those same people were only [c]hristians...they were not true Believers...thus, OF COURSE they would be worried, because they were not clothed with the protection of God's armor. (Eph6:11-17)

We are not told to refrain from rescuing people, out of fear; we are told to "snatch them out of the fire". (Ju1:23)

Anybody who lacks protection -is- going to be fearful. But Jesus promised the Believer regarding the "power of the enemy" that "nothing shall by any means hurt you". (Lk10:19)

Another example:
Years ago my ex and I went to visit a local cult leader one evening; they, a group claiming to be "christian" (for you local people who remember it: the "no names church"), had been in the local news where one of their children had died due to 'religious' neglect and abuse; and I wanted to know what they were about, because the media was twisting things around so terribly. After the leader and I had been exchanging various comments back and forth, he eventually let slip some crucial (false) doctrine they believed in, whereupon I knew it was 'time' to leave, confronted his false doctrine, and he did some 'shouting' back at me with extreme demonic hatred. On our drive home, my ex expressed 'concern' about, "what if they had 'spiked' our tea?" while we were there. And I assured her that in that situation, that even if supposing they had, nothing would harm us...but with her, after she left me...I also came to understand that she had been my 'unequal yoke'. Not being truly saved, she was 'fearful' of the "power of the enemy".

I know, this may seem to be going a bit afield of the question; but it addresses a certain truth about Believers. While we are in the world, there is God's 'protection' against the enemy.

In this world, what -can- we do, and what should we -not- do? Going for a drive or ride (bicycle/motorcycle), one's -purpose- may be to get 'outside' and enjoy some fresh air, some scenery, some of the beauty of God's creation, etc. Now, along the way, there are billboards displaying lewdness, you drive past where people are in their yards half-naked, you ride past an area in a park where lusters are 'making out', you overhear people yelling and cursing at each other, making obscene gestures...and -all- the stuff we-all know is in the world.

So... because we know we will be exposed to such things, do we lock ourselves up in our homes, and don't go out to enjoy the purpose of our intended outting? Well, Paul says, "..then you would need to go out of the world". (1Co5:10) But we are -in- the world... Christ hasn't yet come and gotten us.

Taking that a step further, a Christian visits and communicates with people of the world. Some of that is just being 'neighborly', as Paul says, being "at peace with all men". (Rom12:18) After all, if we are set in this world as "lights" of Jesus Christ, is not -communication- necessary. Of course, in the course of talking with people of the world, they curse, swear, and utter various profanities in proportion to the state of their own hearts; and will say things they think are clever, but to the Christian are perverse. Now, some Christians, of the nature mentioned below who would condemn anybody for merely -owning- a TV, I've heard of them also going so far as to express (to the world) the fact that they are "offended" at the unbeliever's foul mouth, asking them to stop it while in their presence, and if they don't, will withdraw and not even communicate with them. Well, neighborly neighbors tend to socialize. A Christian who holds himself aloof will never have an open door to witness. Neighbors and associates may do things together: go hunting, fishing, cycling, be part of soccer/hockey/softball/bowling teams/leagues, etc...or like in my case a couple years ago, work together building a mutual property-dividing fence. The Christian behaves like a Christian, hearing the offensive speech, but not joining in nor contributing to the 'furthering' of such topics. If they are jovial, and their joviality happens to also contain some passing 'blue' words, do we clam up and NOT LAUGH with the 'over-all' joviality, because it also happened to contain a couple of 'passing' blue words? I don't think so...although, I know there are some who do; but that is a point in which I would disagree with them. Jesus did not 'participate' in sin, but He ate (socialized) -with- sinners...where, certainly, they would have been speaking in whatever manner they were accustomed to...but we don't read of Jesus continually chiding them for these things. He was after getting their 'hearts' cleaned up, the 'inside' of the cup, not so much the outside and platter....because He knew that it was from the heart, from within, where the sin came out...He taught that if the inside of the cup was cleaned, that the outside would be also. (Do I need to quote the passages?)

In the same vein....

In watching some of these TV programs, 'what' are we watching? What is the 'predominance' of the theme? and what is -our- 'focus' as we watch?

First of all, we would -not- regularly watch something like "Charmed", a show specifically -about- witches, witching and casting spells. Nor "Angel", a show about demons and demonic powers. Nor "Desperate Housewives", a show that seems to be mostly about lusting after things other than one's own spouse, and other perversities.

But what about Sci-Fi shows like Star Trek, Babylon-5, Andromeda, Star-Gate, Outer Limits, Earth Final Conflict, etc? What about ones like JAG, Joan of Archadia, 7th Heaven, etc? Or, Winnie the Pooh and Charlie Brown? (I'm assuming we all agree that ones like Will and Grace are not suitable... Right?)

I'm gonna just share my own personal habit. Some of you will not agree with it, because you will condemn me for even -owning- a TV. Others of you will think that I'm 'overboard' in legalism. But I think we need to each one be "assured in their own mind"...looking -honestly- at our own heart motives as we do what we do.

For me, personally, I am an 'explorer' at heart. If they offered space flights to explore all the planets, and travel to other solor systems, I'd be right there at the front of the line. To me it has nothing to do with looking for the so-called "origins of life" and evolution...but to -see- 'what' God created. I have been in a lot of different places around the world, from eastern Quebec to Japan, and if I had nothing better to do, and could afford it, I would travel Europe, Africa and Asia to see 'what' God created. I would DEARLY LOVE to go to Israel! I like antique cars and farm equipment...I like seeing how things were put together, and figuring out how they work.

With that mentality, I also like the StarTrek, Star Gate, Andromeda type shows, because they expand the mind's fantasy imaginations of what might be "out there" (minus the "life forms" and other "species" that also comprise these shows) were one to go exploring, even imagining the concepts of time-warp...kind-of a time to be a "kid" for a few minutes while relaxing/resting. It is not taken seriously.

I am also a studier-of-people. When I was watching the Earth Final Conflict series a few years ago, I was seeing/learning where modern man's spiritual mentality lies. (More on this in a minute) With Jean Luc Picard one see's man's utter loathing for God, and man's own self-betterment. With Star Gate one comes to understand the ancient religious underpinnings to much of what many only see as simple archaeology and history from Egypt, etc; one sees the religious background to what eventually mutated into what we see today with New Age and other things. (Among other things, they've reduced the all-powerful "Thor" down to one of those spindly 'gray' bug-eyed people of UFO lore, who is not really a 'god', but whose race merely has more sophisticated 'technology') All these little things, if a Christian knows Scripture, he can gain understanding, whilst enjoying the 'primary' objective one is putting into the watching...the enjoyment of 'exploration' and the expanding of the imaginations. A person may go to school and study many things in "humanities" courses...but for me, some of these shows put some of those things into a perspective to understand 'how' modern man actually views it today....for me, as the -incidental- 'passing' notice of the show.

Now...if a person is a baby Christian, and is one who tends to believe everything they see and hear, and are not of an 'explorer' personality, where -all- they see is the paganism of it, then it might not be wise to watch such things, where they might get to thinking that "may the force be with you" is a cool (good) thing. Is the person able to sort between what is 'fiction' and what is 'fact'? Are they able to sort out between what is presented -as- 'fiction', when in fact, it is a spiritual concept that is embraced, and it is being 'preached' through the show?

This latter aspect is what I was getting out of the aforementioned "Earth Final Conflict"...they were 'preaching' with that show. I watched it and gained 'informational' learning from it, but would not recommend it to others as something for 'entertainment'...I often came away from an episode sick-to-my-stomach at the spiritual perversity...(similar to the feelings of revulsion I got while reading through the sections of Hunt's book "Woman Rides the Beast" that enumerated papal perversities throughout the centuries; which I 'forced' myself to read, in little increments, so that I would be -knowledgable- about it)... only if you were needing to understand things (for instance: EFC was heavily into the British/Irish/stone-henge 'flavors' of demonism; of the 'flavors' of today's River Dance, and that 'goddess' female who sings with them, whom I've seen promo'd for other shows where she was the main attraction; I don't know her name; which I've not bothered to watch, because the promos were -quite- 'enough'! etc); in a similar fashion as you might read a book to gain information, or observe it in people around you.

One show I don't watch because it is too creepy, "Mutant-X" (I think it is called?) It is presented that the characters have super-powers due to "genetic" (I think?) qualities, but what is portrayed is full-blown "demonic powers". To me...and I have made this distinction for myself...there is a difference between a person 'conjuring' up power to throw bolts of energy from within themselves and traverse through walls like spirits do, and somebody shooting with a fictional staff-weapon and traveling a wormhole; where the 'majority' of the program is devoted to the SELF-demonic-power, vs a program where the primary themes are of space travel, time-warp and worm holes, where the evil overlords are encountered once in awhile, but are defeated, shown to be false gods, and the 'good guys' win, with no -innate- spiritual source...they are just -people-. Like from years ago where the Lone Ranger would shoot it out, and kill the bad guys, and save the victims; or Daniel Boone would prevail to mete out justice in historical frontier America.

I've watched "Joan of Archadia" a few times, but get pretty much disgusted with a girl, supposedly obeying -god-, acting sassy towards adults while on her mission of doing god's will. Of course, it's opening theme song, "What if god was one of us...?" Was it last season...? Joan concluded that god didn't exist? This season she seems to 'believe' again, but I didn't see 'how' she came to that conclusion. And their 'god' is often a snotty little kid, or somebody dressed up like goth, etc. Not recommended. But it certainly shows one aspect of todays 'god' mentality...of the "god within" religion. It is -not- one to watch for 'entertainment', because its -primary- theme is of these false gods, and teaches kids how to be sassy and rebellious to adults, without penalties for that sassiness. It is 'fiction', but is also pretty much spot-on with today's 'reality' of the "me-religion".

In some ways, you know, Winnie the Pooh may actually be more harmful than some of these others. It is sooo 'innocent' seeming, with 'fun' characters frolicking and bouncing around, with cute grammatical witticisms (sometimes I think it's more of an 'adult' cartoon, than for kids; like the old snaggle-puss, evunnnn), getting lost, finding each other. But when they have episodes where somebody is going through an episode of self-doubt...the way they weave the doctrines of "self-esteem" into the 'successful' outcome is so cleverly done, those watching would become indoctrinated without even realizing it....because....how could something so cute-and-cuddly be bad? (see what I said above? too pharisaical?)

For many, watching Jack Van Impe on Sunday nights, quoting all his Scripture references right-and-left, would be more harmful than many of these secular things...because he "twists" (2Pt3:16) so much of what he quotes. At least, with all these other things, a Christian -knows- they are secular and of the world...and if a person can conscientiously watch them for their own right reasons...

But for some, you should not watch Star Trek or Star Wars and many of these others. If the 'spiritual' components become the -primary- thing for you; going back to that "billboard" that is "along-the-way" of your bike ride; are you -stopping- to 'admire' and 'lust' after the perverse portrayals on the lewd billboard?; then, don't. But if those things are truly 'along-the-way' as you are -primarily- enjoying imaginary 'adventure' and 'space/wormhole travel' (and you must know your own heart -honestly-; remembering that God is not mocked) ....well... my personal conscience says, "Enjoy the 'outting'; go for that 'drive/ride/walk/run', etc" ...watch the show...

Each person is answerable to the Lord for themself (Rom14:12) according to their conscience and faith. (vs22-23) Also check out Col2:16-23

But if you are doubtful about this, then don't. Don't condemn yourself with your doubts. "But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because it is not out of faith; for whatever is not out of faith is sin." (Rom14:23)

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