Here are reasons why I don’t like or trust TV. In fact I don’t own a set and my biggest difficulty in my current situation is having it on in the living room 14 to 15 hours a day most often. (This isn’t my house.)
I have my own addiction to the internet, so I can’t be too harsh. Included with my reasons against TV I will point out how the internet differs since that is important.
In some respects the net is worse since it feeds our vanity. I’m trying to limit recreational use of the net to 7 hours a week or less. Once I’m less isolated I’ll restrict it to 5.
- Television forces us to passively consume shallow entertainment. We can change the channel and alter the volume. That’s about it. Internet contains a lot of reading material. While reading the screen is not the same as reading a book it can be like reading a magazine or newspaper which require more thought than watching most shows.
- When we are watching TV it prevents us from doing anything else that requires concentration. We can do needlepoint, knit, or do disagreeable chores–except vacuuming. But we can’t read, talk to other people, pray, sing, or think anything profound. Radio is different somehow. I’m not sure why it is, but we can listen to classical music including operas and listen to profound thoughts. We can even listen to audio books. Or–if online–podcasts. According to The Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn, audio effects us differently than visual media.
- The things that attract people to TV are sex and violence. Therefore we will see these. A lot. TV is about feeling more than thinking and is written for the lowest common denominator.
- TV prevents us from human interaction. The internet helps us communicate if used effectively. But with television it’s all one sided.
- Commercials. I took a course in copywriting once and was troubled to find the best way to get people to buy–according to the instructor–was to use the Seven Deadly Sins to manipulate people. I have no problem with selling people useful goods or services or helping other people do that. But even if I’m not urging people to waste money on luxuries they wouldn’t want the ends don’t justify the means. Manipulation is always dishonest at some level. Advertising bugs me. I’m not anti-capitalist but anti-consumerist. The latter is a mind-set. We combat it by turning off the tube.
- TV is not needed for earning a living. Cars and the internet can help some earn their daily bread. Not television. Like refined sugar, it’s completely unnecessary for life.
- TV shows are preachy. And their sermons are often anti-biblical. Yet for some reason Christians keep watching it even as they gripe about it. WHY? Early Christians didn’t go to the Colosseum. Yet we feel compelled to keep these miniature Colosseums enshrined in our living rooms. “Yes, this show does give a message that the Bible condemns and glorifies every debauchery known to man, but I really like that actress. And I want to see how the series ends.” Use some discernment.
There’s my rant. No, the Bible does not condemn mindless entertainment like TV watching. But just because it’s lawful (not specifically a sin) does not make it expedient.
Will this help me grow in faith? Will it help others? Does it honor God?