Relaxed, Passive, Christian TV Addicts




“…One activity, however, stands out for its prominence and ubiquity- the world’s most popular leisure pastime, television. Most people admit to having a love-hate relationship with it. They complain about the ‘boob tube’ and ‘couch potatoes,’ then they settle into their sofas and grab the remote control. Parents commonly fret about their children’s viewing (if not their own)…Most of the criteria of substance dependence can apply to people who watch a lot of TV…A Body at Rest Tends to Stay at Rest…

“The amount of time people spend watching television is astonishing. On average, individuals in the industrialized world devote three hours a day to the pursuit – fully half of their leisure time, and more than on any single activity save work and sleep. At this rate, someone who lives to 75 would spend nine years in front of the tube…To some commentators, this devotion means simply that people enjoy TV and make a conscious decision to watch it. But if that is the whole story, why do so many people experience misgivings about how much they view? In Gallup polls in 1992 and 1999, two out of five adult respondents and seven out of 10 teenagers said they spent too much time watching TV. Other surveys have consistently shown that roughly 10 percent of adults call themselves TV addicts.

“To study people’s reactions to TV, researchers have undertaken laboratory experiments in which they have monitored the brain waves (using an electroencephalograph, or EEG), skin resistance or heart rate of people watching television. To track behavior and emotion in the normal course of life, as opposed to the artificial conditions of the lab, we have used the Experience Sampling Method (ESM). Participants carried a beeper, and we signaled them six to eight times a day, at random, over the period of a week; whenever they heard the beep, they wrote down what they were doing and how they were feeling using a standardized scorecard.

“As one might expect, people who were watching TV when we beeped them reported feeling RELAXED AND PASSIVE. The EEG studies similarly show less mental stimulation, as measured by alpha brain-wave production, during viewing than during reading. What is more surprising is that the sense of relaxation ends when the set is turned off, but the feelings of passivity and lowered alertness continue. Survey participants commonly reflect that television has somehow absorbed or sucked out their energy, leaving them depleted. They say they have more difficulty concentrating after viewing than before. In contrast, they rarely indicate such difficulty after reading.

“After playing sports or engaging in hobbies, people report improvements in mood. After watching TV, people’s moods are about the same or worse than before…Habit-forming drugs work in similar ways. A tranquilizer that leaves the body rapidly is much more likely to cause dependence than one that leaves the body slowly, precisely because the user is more aware that the drug’s effects are wearing off. Similarly, viewers’ vague learned sense that they will feel less relaxed if they stop viewing may be a significant factor in not turning the set off. Viewing begets more viewing. Thus, the irony of TV: people watch a great deal longer than they plan to, even though prolonged viewing is less rewarding…Producers of educational television for children have found that formal features can help learning. But increasing the rate of cuts and edits eventually overloads the brain. Music videos and commercials that use rapid intercutting of unrelated scenes are designed to hold attention more than they are to convey information.” (Scientific American, Feb.2, 2002)

Comments: There was a time when Christians wrote against the dangers of entertainment RADIO compared to reading. Now we have TV! It is corrupting fundamental, conservative Christians around the world. And most of the fundamentalist preachers will not sound the alarm because they themselves are addicted to justifying the worldly, blue, glow of pollution! Whatever supposed “value” in learning one thinks they are getting out of a TV is mainly a self-deceived fantasy. TV actually spoils the mind and makes it hate reading. The greatest delight of my daughter (who has never watched TV – since I have not had one for years) is to have a book read to her. Her ability to memorize and cite the words to multiple hymns, almost every word to various children’s books, complete passages of Scripture, the alphabet, the months of the year, and various other random facts at 2 years old and younger, I attribute largely to the complete absence of INSANE visual stimulation (i.e. TV and videos).

Most parents use the TV to hypnotize the children so the mother (or baby-sitter) can get some work (or relaxation) accomplished. This terrible habit absolutely insures that the child, from that day forward, will have trouble enjoying books and blocks and memorizing and thinking in a linear fashion. Why not be free from this pit of moral corruption and slime? If it doesn’t make you lazy and stupid, it will lead you into sin. If these words upset you or if you do not understand them, it is because you have been watching TV. There are good Christians who are trying to do right, who are being discouraged by preachers in fundamental churches around America. The preachers make reference to movies and TV programs in the sermons and in conversation. It becomes a part of them. It is considered “normal.” Preachers and fathers – why not make a stand against this evil today?

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou AN EXAMPLE of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

Joey Faust


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