Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

Contemplating Television

Recently I got rid of my cable.  Now I am left with no way of watching television.  I still own a TV and I have plenty of movies, but I am giving up television.  I know what you are probably thinking.  You think I’m one of those crazy fundamentalists who believes anyone who watches TV is going to hell.  Jon Krakauer in his book “Under the Banner of Heaven” writes about a fundamentalist Mormon congregation who gives up their satellite dishes every time the preacher has a sermon on the evils of television.  The funny thing is they never give them up for good.  After about a month or so they will begin to miss their satellite and go get another one.  I’m not a fundamentalist.  I think there are some good TV shows available, but it is not for me or my family right now.

Although there is plenty of evil on TV that is not what concerns me the most.  I am more concerned with how television will effect the development of my son, how it will rob my family of time together, and the simple fact there are many better ways I can spend my time.  Television just doesn’t make sense to me anymore.  I am afraid many years into the future people will look back at the television as one of the most detrimental things ever invented.  It is an addiction to many people.  They set down to relax for a few minutes, so they flip on the television and begin to watch one of the many reality shows that clog the airwaves.  Before you know it they are hooked and they end up spending several hours in front of the TV.  What have they done?  What have they learned?  How have they interacted with other members of their household?  Television robs us of time and we usually have nothing to show for it.

I am also concerned about how television effects us as human beings.  Not many people consider that television may have a negative impact on how our brain processes information.  When we read a book we visually picture what is going on, but television takes this away from us.  Our brains our not as engaged when we watch TV as they are when we read a book.  This goes beyond the realm of TV.  It extends to video games, computers, smartphones, and other gadgets that present us with images instead of text.  When the printing press was invented it changed the way people think and live.  What will happen when we give up the written word for images?

Now you may not be ready to abandon television just yet, and that is ok, but at least take a moment to consider how television affects your life and the life of your family.  If you continue to allow television in your home I would consider limiting the time you and your family spend watching it each week.  I would also encourage you to regularly take fasts from the TV.  Don’t turn on the television for a week and focus on drawing closer to God and strengthening your family bonds.  Make sure you control the television and the television does not control you.

“Watching television requires no skills and develops no skills. That is why there is no such thing as remedial television-watching. That is also why you are no better today at watching television than you were five years ago, or ten.” Neil Postman

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