Back in the 1950s, television was first brought into family homes all over the developed world, and from there it spread to virtually every home. I think it is fair to say that it has been used to make a massive impact on culture and society. While television has brought some useful knowledge to people, I would say that the way it has been used overall has been extremely detrimental to the spiritual health of people everywhere. It has especially affected to spiritual potency of the people of God in a negative way. To put it more simply – it has been a major stumbling block which has caused multitudes of Christian people to sin and ultimately to shipwreck their faith.
I knew intuitively as I was growing up that spending lots of time watching TV was not consistent with taking the gospel of Jesus Christ seriously. But strangely, I never heard one sermon preaching against television watching. I think that is because basically everyone was doing it, including me. I did hear one reference against the show "The Love Boat" once at the Anglican church I attended.
There were a lot of standards initially that governed what could and could not be shown on TV. I suppose this made a lot of Christians feel relatively safe. And who could argue with shows like Play School and Sesame Street which helped and still do help young children to develop mentally? But as time went on, standards were relaxed more and more. The focus always seemed to be on "how far can we go"? "Should we show this kind of program with all its racy, sexy content at 8:30 p.m. or should it be only after 10:30 p.m.?" The question was not put as often, "Should we show this at all?" In Australia where I grew up, the church was losing more and more cultural influence with time, and the people going to church were becoming more and more conformed to the world. Television had no small part to play in this. We just floated with the current.
Today most mainstream television is so spiritually and morally toxic that switching it on and just watching it at random could be compared to going into a wild party and letting anyone there put unknown mind-altering drugs in your coke. We have TV shows with nudity, TV shows with witchcraft, TV shows about nature that instead of glorifying God constantly assume and imply naturalistic darwinistic models of the world, TV shows teaching the love of money, TV shows that glorify all kinds of vacuous and sensual celebrities that are somehow supposed to be newsworthy – you know, people like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. We also have a lot of false prophets, money-hungry sensual compromisers who degrade the name of Christ by their various antics and scams. Even the children's cartoons frequently glorify the occult and satanic philosophies. You cannot trust the world to lead you to truth and righteousness. If you do, you are a fool. "The whole world lieth in the evil one" (1 John 5:19).
I personally stay away from TV. We don't have an antenna connected to our TV, it is only used for videos which we choose. We don't let someone else choose for us what we are going to watch. We also have to be very careful about youtube. The only difference with youtube is that the evil stuff generally only comes before your eyes if you search for something related to it.
Are you Going to Let Some Ungodly Person Brainwash You?
Most of the people who write scripts for TV or movies are ungodly. Many of them practice witchcraft in one form or another, or wholeheartedly believe in anti-christian philosophies. They might be New Agers, or Buddhists, or Atheists, or Agnostics – most of them are Humanists of one form or another. Such people work with an agenda in mind. Are you going to relax in front of a television set and allow such people to work on your mind? Is this going to please Jesus Christ, who has bought you at a price and commands you to be transformed by the renewing of your mind?
The agenda of these godless producers and script writers is to get you to accept certain things you previously might not have accepted – and the way much of this is done is through fantasy and entertainment. A lot has been done for the homosexual activist agenda through TV shows and movies, just to give one example. Adulterous behavior is considered normal thanks to the influence of TV. Fictional soap-operas are created and the message of these stories, if there is one, is almost always totally GODLESS. God is not acknowledged, and His values and commandments are ignored or derided, often subtly. This all has an effect on your mind and your spiritual state, if you watch it.
Satan Won't Oppose you Watching TV
Satan won't oppose you watching TV, because he is the inspiration behind many of the values it portrays. If you are a Christian, have you ever tried to read the Bible out loud or even silently for several hours? Did you experience spiritual pressure or mental discomfort as you did this? I know I did. Most people cannot give that much attention to God's Word without feeling bad inside, or falling asleep quickly. But the same person will be easily able to watch TV until 2 a.m. in the morning! Why is this? Well, it may be partly because TV shows have a more interesting presentation, but I believe a big part of the reason is also that Satan and his demons will fight your efforts to study and obey God's Word, but they will encourage you in TV watching. They know that sooner or later they will have your soul if you keep it up.
What are the Spiritual Dangers in Watching TV today?
They are many and varied. Sin is presented as acceptable, it is presented as glamorous and exciting. TV glorifies all of the works of the flesh listed in Galations 5:19-21
"Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
The TV has been used for decades as Satan's major advertising medium for all of these works of the flesh. In addition to having direct access to our minds through the implantation of temptations, Satan has been able to leverage technology to sow evil thoughts in to the minds of the masses today. We need to be honest about what is being promoted by the things we are watching.
Everyone knows that the TV is full of women with beautiful faces and bodies, many of whom dress and behave in an alluring way that is calculated to stir up sexual desire in male viewers. This is so "par-for-the-course" nowadays that people have become desensitized to it. This means, that things have to get sexier and sexier or morally darker and darker all the time in order for the same kind of interest value to be generated in the minds of the viewers. But it is not only adultery, fornication, uncleanness and lewdness that is promoted on TV – it is all the other sins as well. Drama shows feature hatred, unforgiveness, murder, anger, violence, deception, cheating as well as occultism, witchcraft and all kinds of ungodly behaviours. Furthermore, ungodly philosophies that deceive many people and turn them away from the knowledge of God are also promoted. One very popular TV talk host, Oprah Winfrey, frequently promotes "New Age" philosophy relating to eastern meditation, visualisation and a host of other practices that lead a person to trust in themselves or someone else other than Jesus Christ.
Whatever people sow in their minds is going to have an impact down the track, You never know when something you saw or heard years ago will come back to your remembrance and take at least a little bit of your mental focus. It might take a lot more. If this is the case, why allow filth to come into your mind? You wouldn't go running around licking everything in a garbage dump in the search for food for your body – so why go to Satan's spiritual garbage dump to feed your soul? If you answer, "Because it feels good" I have to say to you, "You are a fool." Not everything that feels good IS good. It could lead you to something worse than an early grave. It could lead you to hell itself.
It would be impossible to fully catalogue all the potential evils and dangers of TV watching. But I think it is important to state one major one. TV is often the medium by which unclean sexual lust is fed and motivated. There are so many programs on TV which feature scantily clad attractive women. Looking on the images of women in order to lust for them is a form of adultery. Jesus said, "Whoever looks at a woman in order to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart". Most men have committed this sin at one time or another. But when you watch TV or encourage someone else to do so you are risking putting a stumbling block before your eyes. This kind of sin can keep you out of heaven and send you to hell, according to Jesus, so why expose youself to it and risk it?
WE HAVE A TASK TO DO and Most TV Watching is a Waste of Time
As Christians, we need to be about our calling, doing it in the strength God supplies, with the power He gives. Most of us have to spend 5-10 hours of the day at least serving society or the needs of our family in some way. We need to sleep and eat as well. The time that remains is very precious, and the way we allocate it says a lot about our TRUE priorities. There are many needs out there, many suffering people, many that are on the path to a fiery hell of endless torment and despair. We have been given power from God to do something about this. So what are we going to do?
There are plenty of needs out there, and only God can show you what your specific calling is. Sometimes we WILL need to have a rest, and have a break from the intensity of it all. How will we do this? There are plenty of ways to relax which do not involve spiritually endangering ourselves. You can exercise, you can go for a walk, you can sing, you can write music or learn an instrument, or a language, or make friends, or play games if you must. You can wait in the presence of the Lord, and pray in tongues – something I think we should all be doing more. If you are going to watch videos, at least YOU should be the one choosing them. Don't passively let some TV executive choose for you what goes into your mind.
The Bible however doesn't put a lot of emphasis on us seeking out the best ways to entertain ourselves. It does say that God gives us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). But that verse does not mean that all things we enjoy are given by God. It means that many things ARE given by God for us to enjoy. But God did NOT give us the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life to enjoy. The love of the world is not from God.
Because watching TV is so easy and comfortable, and you don't have to be good at anything to do it, many people waste a lot of time with it. We can expect this from unbelievers who may or may not see that there is any REAL PURPOSE to our lives on earth. But Christians are exhorted to "redeem the time, because the days are evil". This means, we need to work out ways to get more eternal results out of the time we have, even if it means spending money and effort to do so.
God has given us a job, He has given us a purpose. He wants us out there talking about Jesus and the gospel, full of the power of the Holy Spirit. He wants us to diligently apply ourselves to the Word of God so that we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds and healed. It is sad when we hear of Christians who are mentally ill in one way or another. A lot of these mental illnesses could be and would be cured if people would give sufficient attention to the Word of God and more importantly PRACTICE IT. Practicing confession of sin to God, and forgiving of others, and caring for the needs of others is very important. The Bible teaches us to get out of our self-absorbtion and "by love serve one another". This also is very good for mental health. Watching TV many times, on the other hand, will exarcerbate mental health issues by providing opportunities for all kinds of weird and unhealthy obsessions to develop. The TV is still a major distribution channel for the promotion of all kinds of pop culture idols. Every thought, every imagination is a kind of seed, and we need to be very careful to plant a lot of the right kinds of seeds in our hearts, while giving no further opportunity for the wrong kinds of seeds to be planted there. In order to do this, we need to be in our Bibles, and also hear and TEST the things Bible teachers, pastors and preachers are saying.