Tag Archives: media

The Back Door to Your Worldview

Imagine that your house was surrounded by robbers that desperately wanted to break in and pillage your belongings. Would you make every effort to secure the home? In addition to locking doors and windows, perhaps you would have an alarm installed, purchase surveillance cameras, and even look into a guard dog or two. Remember, this is a home in a sketchy neighborhood. Sure, there are some good people living on the street, but the number of those that are bent on destruction is far greater. Now, ask yourself if you would leave your back door unlocked and unguarded. My guess is that you would not, and for good reason.

When it comes to our worldview, however, this is what many of us, in fact, do. In most of our homes there is a large electronic device that projects sounds and images to a passive, and often unsuspecting, audience. I am talking about the television, of course. We study the Bible, we go to church, we try our best to live what we believe is a moral and good life, but then we sit in front of the television and feed our minds with the values of the prevailing culture.

In recent years the media has become more outspoken in their dismissal of things sacred. For instance, we now have shows on the major networks called Lucifer and Angel from Hell. In the one case, Satan is introduced to us as a not-so-bad guy after all, and in the other, we have a guardian angel that models ungodliness. But, these are just the shows with shocking titles.

The truth is that television shows have been modeling and presenting an alternative worldview for decades. Passive audiences have sat back and enjoyed television shows that slowly introduced different value systems. For instance, over the last twenty years we can see how homosexuality made its way into shows like Seinfeld, with their famous line, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that”; King of Queens, with Deacon’s son’s obsession with makeup; Will & Grace, which, I believe was the first show to feature homosexuality prominently; and Modern Family, a show that has a gay male couple as one of the “modern families.”

But we can also ask ourselves about when a positive spin on Christianity was seen prominently on television. I can think of Seventh Heaven and Touched by an Angel, but these show left the air more than a decade ago and, as far as I am aware, did not go into any detail of the Christian worldview.

Furthermore, I am not suggesting that people should not have television shows that speak to their particular life. After all, I want to have shows that I can relate to and I do not want someone telling me that such entertainment should not be made available. Moreover, I am not of the opinion that we must shield our eyes from what is going on in the world. After all, we need to know something about the world if we are going to engage it. So, I am not upset with most of the shows I list, though I do not care for the sacrilege seen in shows like Lucifer and Angel from Hell. My angst against these shows is that they take aim directly at the Bible.

Now, if we go back to the protected house at the beginning of this blog, there are a few points I would like to make.

  • First, if we simply castle ourselves in, we can miss the joy of the world around us. So, take time to enjoy the creation that God has blessed us with.
  • Second, be aware of what you are letting in through the back door that is the television. Be an active viewer instead of a passive one. This means actively engaging the worldview that is presented in a television show. Talk about what you are watching with your family members and why you agree or disagree with a particular message. You don’t have to throw out the baby with the bathwater, but it does help to use discernment.
  • Third, engage with the culture from a Biblical point of view. If you are worried about robbers outside of your home, then you can either hide inside or try to change their minds about being robbers. In the same way, we can either shut off the world, or we can try to transform the world through the gospel of Jesus Christ. But, to do this we must know something about our culture so that we can thoughtfully engage it.
  • Fourth, it may be worthwhile to try and shape the culture by increasing the number of Christian voices coming across the airwaves. If you allow more godly influences into your home, then you will simultaneously have less room for ungodly influences.

Until next time, I pray that God richly blesses you, wherever you are.

Indoctrination

From time to time you will hear the accusation leveled against Christians that we are indoctrinating our children when we teach them the faith. For some, the idea of “indoctrinating” someone is intolerable and must at all costs be avoided. For others, like myself, the response is: what’s the big deal? After all, indoctrination is happening whether we are involved or not. I just happen to prefer the notion of being directly involved in the shaping of my child’s life.

There are some people who will say that they refuse to teach their faith in the house because it is unfair to the children and that the young people should be allowed to make their own decisions. But, we don’t live in a vacuum. We live in a world that is full of ideas and worldviews that are being pumped into the minds of people 24/7. So, they hand over the task of teaching their children a doctrine about the world, shaping their worldview, to the school system, television, radio, print media, and peers. Interestingly enough, in an effort to step away from “indoctrinating” their children, they have simply subcontracted the job out to others. Perhaps this is in an effort to feel better about themselves or there is some sense of parental ineptitude.

Regardless, handing over a parent’s influence in a child’s life to whomever it may concern is terribly irresponsible and a disservice to the child. Parents are put into the life of a child for more than the purpose of birth. Our job is not just to see them safely delivered from the womb and then provide room and board while the state, or society, shapes their mind and brings them into adulthood. That is the mindset of some sort of socialist system. Instead, mom and dad are key in raising up a strong and civil society. It is in the home that values are transmitted (more on that another day), a work ethic is instilled, and a way of seeing and understanding the world is developed.

Indoctrination is unavoidable. Companies seek to indoctrinate employees, the military indoctrinates our nation’s warriors, the media indoctrinates its audience, and the list could go on. So, if indoctrination is unavoidable, the question becomes: why shouldn’t I be involved? If I shirk my responsibility as a parent and say, “go ahead school, teach my child everything they need to know about the world,” I have still been involved in the indoctrination of my child. Passive involvement is still involvement.

There are also those that have been duped into the idea that, if only they remove religious influences from the home, the charge of indoctrination cannot fall on them. But this is nonsense. If you filter information, then you are involved in indoctrination. This is indoctrination by omission instead of commission. So, for the parents that believe they have done their child a favor by omitting religious teaching from the home in an effort to be free from indoctrination, I must tell you that you failed miserably. Indeed, you have been just as involved in indoctrinating your child as those you sought to avoid being like. You have simply indoctrinated your children into irreligion. And, if you are so irresponsible as to shirk all duties in the shaping of your child’s worldview, then you have just allowed someone else to indoctrinate your child and sacrificed the tremendous opportunity you were given by God to have an active role in the shaping of that child.

I say all of this to encourage parents to be involved in the shaping of your child’s worldview. Be actively engaged in their life. Take time to talk and play together. Live out what is important to you in your daily life and your children will take note. Show your love for one another, demonstrate a love for God, and be available to answer questions as best as you can. As the days march on a parent’s direct influence becomes increasingly less and the youngster will soon grow into a man or woman and start a family of his or her own. Please, don’t let those precious days go by without making the effort to positively impact your child’s life.