Most of us have TV habits that we’re not particularly proud of, I’m certainly not excluded. ‘How I Met Your Mother’, ‘The Office’, and ‘Parks and Rec’ have traditionally been among my favorites. But today I have been feeling greatly convicted about this. All of these shows are littered with sinful behavior and immoral lifestyles portrayed in an innocent light. It is easy to watch them and feel like it’s not that big of a deal, no one gets hurt, so it’s all good. But deep down I know it’s not. And in fact, have known for quite some time. My TV watching habits have caused me to feel perpetually guilty in a small way. Because even moral content aside, watching TV is a horrible way to spend time.
We sacrifice our morals and values on the alter of our own entertainment.
At times I’ve found myself trying to excuse the behavior. Perhaps it was a rough day, or there was nothing else to do (which is a terrible rationalization). But the better approach than to try and rationalize it is to ask ‘What’s right with it?’.
John Piper said it well in “don’t waste your life”
The ethical question “whether something is permissible” faded in relation to the question, “what is the main thing, the essential thing?” The thought of building a life around minimal morality or minimal significance –a life defined by the question, “What is permissible?” –felt almost disgusting to me. I didn’t want a minimal life. I didn’t want to live on the outskirts of reality. I wanted to understand the main thing about life and pursue it.
Studies have confirmed that TV watching habits have a very real affect on the brain. Such as this one summarized by NPR. Other studies have shown that excessive TV watching can result in lower verbal intelligence in children. And still other articles suggest that the habit is just generally destructive and you shouldn’t do it.
The point is, there are more than just moral reasons to avoid too much television. It is an unhealthy practice to fall into.
What will you watch then?
I’m not going to delete my Netflix account, there is a lot of great content there. It’s worth it even just for the incredible documentaries alone. But I’m going to be focusing on making smarter consumption choices going forward. When I want to hit up some Parks and Rec, I might get some Andy Griffith going instead. Instead of Family Guy, maybe some Bob’s Burgers, or Leave it to Beaver, or some Cosby.
I’ll be looking for content with a positive message that doesn’t negatively downgrade my cognitive faculties too greatly. 😉
This is my reasoning, hopefully it helps someone else get some ideas about what to change (if anything) about their habits. I wonder how different the world would look if less Christians were distracted by media products of a secular culture. I know I don’t want to be counted among them, I want to be one of the watchful, the preparing, the praying, the studying, and the constantly improving.