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See No Evil

Posted by Job on March 1, 2007

Job 14:16 For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin?

Suppose you were to buy a brand new suit, carpet, or car. Suppose this item was very valuable, very special to you, and extremely important to your existence. So what do you do? You put sugar water in the car’s gas tank, or spread mud and grape juice on your suit or carpet. Now this will not destroy your prized possession. You can get the car fixed or your carpet or suit restored to a condition that is very serviceable or even good as new if you are willing to expend the resources. Not only do you do it once, but you do it again, again, and again, continuing because despite each time it gets harder and harder to restore your possession, you get desensitized to it all and you lose sight of the original pristine condition of the possession and take for granted its value to you. Now, even though you might be able to restore this item to a usable condition each time, wouldn’t it be far better to take care of it from the beginning? Of course! 

Amazing how virtually everyone would agree with that statement regarding a material possession that no matter how special and valuable is replaceable (or you can live without it) but so comparatively few would take the same approach regarding their soul. We pour garbage, corruption, and filth into our souls all the time, and then we have to deal with the resulting contaminated state that it leaves us in, affecting our minds, behaviors, relationships, even our health. So we go to God asking him to clean us up, and he does, but then we keep going back to the same corrupting behavior. Soon we get desensitized to our condition, and it gets harder and harder to go to God to ask him to clean us up, and when we do it becomes harder and harder to approach him with the sincere, fervent, humble prayers that gets results – or to even admit that our souls are in jeopardy. Clearly, it would be better to avoid fouling our souls to begin with, right? 

Most Christians would agree with that statement until you tell them what the primary source of soul corruption in our society is: television, movies, magazines, and the Internet. Make no mistake about it, the entertainment of today makes every effort to depict as much sin as possible. Now, those of us who believe in demons, angels, and spiritual warfare know that watching such entertainment causes evil spirits to enter into people. Further, if you watch it on a continuous basis, legion, or many evil spirits, will enter into you and control you. This is a particular danger with horror and occult programs (because of the content) and video games and the Internet (because of the interactive nature, the length of time and level of dedicated concentration it requires, AND the content).  

Even if you are not a believer in spiritual warfare, demons, and the like (which basically means that you do not believe in the Bible), you cannot ignore that seeing something over and over again will 1) desensitize you to it and 2) make you more likely to imitate it in some form or another. Now, you may not necessarily become promiscuous after consuming entertainment with sex – filled content, but you will spend more time thinking about sex, talking about sex, and leering at members of the opposite sex (especially those who accommodate you with their own dress and behavior, of which there is no shortage of). Similarly, the violence in this entertainment may not make you go out and shoot or punch someone, but you will become more aggressive and belligerent in your manner. The profane and course nature of entertainment (and I am not just talking about the dialogue) will also seep into and out of our own speech and attitude. Even things such as “ripped from the headlines crime dramas” will make you become more fearful, suspicious, and less likely to love our neighbors, especially if they don’t look like us. 

The amazing thing is that virtually all true Christians know this already in our hearts, yet, we will not take a stand against this corruption for our own sakes, for our families, or for the unsaved and newly saved, all of whom need our effectual prayers and our examples. Why? The vast majority of us cannot imagine our lives without these conveniences, which we not only look to for entertainment and information, but to provide socialization, culture, reassurance, acceptance, community, companionship, parenting, stimulation, and even love. (We look to these evil things to replace the good things that God has given to us to fill those same needs.) Just like everyone else, Christians either get those directly from mass media and entertainment, or they have their notions of them heavily influenced by it, and the segments of the faith community that are most vulnerable are the elderly, the children, and the poor, which just happen to be the very people that God exhorted Christians to not only look after but to advocate, to defend, to take personal responsibility for if we are to inherit the kingdom of heaven. 

Cannot imagine your life without these things? You forget that humanity was able to get along just fine without these innovations for the vast majority of our history. Even today, billions of people in the world do not have access to these things. They are not essential to life, but rather things that we have cleaved to in our laziness. We have allowed the corrupt, wicked devices of the world to usurp and replace the good things that God has given us for our enjoyment, and it has long gotten past the point where we no longer desire what God has given us – or the appropriate use for what God has given us – because we desire what we see on television and the Internet and in the movies and magazines.  

Why? Because we like it. Furthermore, we don’t like it despite its content being sinful, we like it BECAUSE its content is sinful. We don’t like it despite the fact that our unsaved peers like it. We like it BECAUSE it gives us something in common with them. We do it because we WANT to yield to temptation. We do it because we WANT to be in the counsel of evildoers and stand in the way of the ungodly. These things are produced by sinners to advance the purpose of the masters of sinners, and that makes it the wicked fruit of a wicked vine. Yet we pass up the good fruit of the true vine for things that we know are corrupt just because we want to. Sure, we make excuses, lie to ourselves, and lie to others, but in our hearts we know that it is wrong.  

Now though I made my previous statement intentionally broad, I do know that there are many of you who simply don’t know any better because you have not been taught any better and these things have not been revealed to you by the Holy Spirit. People such as these are referred to as those who are perishing for the lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). To such people I say that you are not reading this by accident! Praise and thank the one true God for his mercy and for giving you this revelation, and have faith and know that it is good. Please know that you did not stumble across this by accident, but rather it was the God that created you and me and sent his son to die for our sins that sent you. Now, receive this teaching that came from God, be set free, and do not return to your old ways, for you no longer have the excuse of the lack of knowledge.  

Should you give up television, movies, magazines, and the Internet entirely? God forbid! None of those things are inherently evil. Rather, those under Satan’s control are using them for his purposes. Those who love God and are seeking to please him can use these things to do so for the purposes of evangelism, instructing/guiding/teaching our children and church members, our own spiritual edification, and yes, for good old – fashioned entertainment! The notion that God doesn’t want us to have any fun, or that it is impossible to have fun with 100% adherence to God’s will is a lie of Satan, and is another topic for a future message. God not only allows us to have a good time, he COMMANDS it! The only caveat is that our good times must have God at the center of them. It is not that God – centered entertainment does not exist for the Christian, but rather that most Christians do not seek God – centered entertainment. Even many who do seek God – centered entertainment fail to do so all the time. In that they allow their entertainment to alternate between secular and God – centered in ways that they would never do with their own behavior. These people will watch others do things that they know are sinful and would never themselves do! 

A lot of Christians may feel that they already do a good job of screening their television, movie, magazine, and Internet content. Sadly, this is not the case. First, many Christians allow the unsaved to set the standards of morality, decency, and appropriateness. We need to realize that the censor boards and critics speak for Satan’s kingdom and not God’s, and furthermore as these entities are controlled by Satan he will certainly use them to fool and ensnare the non – elect of the saints. So, ignore the critics who give films, TV shows, magazines, and Internet sites great ratings by proclaiming their quality, morality, and suitableness for family and children viewing. Ignore the PG, G, and TV-F, and the scribes (even those who call themselves “conservative”, “traditional” or other loaded divisive terms that have nothing to do with the perfect unchanging God who has no respect of persons) who proclaim that the content is “inoffensive” and “uplifting.” Not only are their opinions generally wrong in God’s eyes, but they are also part of an attempt to deceive and lure the true Christian into sin. Yes, it is a conspiracy run by the devil, and they are all in on it, whether they know it or not! Remember, a wicked vine cannot bring forth good fruit. No matter how noble the intentions, no matter how sincere the effort, evil can only beget evil.   

Second, many Christians rely on simplistic, unspiritual standards. That being, if it doesn’t depict sex, nudity, graphic violence, swearing, or general immorality (i.e. homosexuality, adultery, rape) then it is fine. Well, how would one make a faithful adaptation of the story of David without those elements? You might respond “Well, I can understand depicting battlefield violence and Goliath cursing God, but showing Bathsheba bathing is over the line.” So someone’s natural body is worse than murder and cursing God? How? Now, let us go further than this. Imagine if the filmmaker had multiple gratuitous scenes of Bathsheba bathing. Imagine if he further showed David having sex with his wives and concubines, his having Bathsheba brought to him and impregnating her, and Absalom raping David’s concubines. Obviously sinful exploitation and should be avoided at all costs, right? Well, what if the filmmaker was a sincere Christian who used the Bathsheba bath scenes to convey the temptation that David willingly subjected himself to, and how he yielded to it because he didn’t remove it. And suppose the sex scenes between David and his wives/concubines versus Bathsheba (and versus Absalom’s rapes) are meant to convey showing the difference between actions that God ordains and is pleased by versus abomination that God hates no matter who does it! A Christian with a “no sex, no nudity, no violence, no swearing” attitude would miss such a powerful spiritual message. 

Of course, the far bigger problem with Christians passing up certain entertainment because of the content is Christians accepting entertainment because of the lack thereof. Indeed, as much harm that is done with movies, television, magazines, and Internet sites that are outright raunchy to one degree or another, far worse damage is done by the supposedly “clean” content, which is the vast majority. Going back to the nudity and sex topic in the previous paragraph, it does not take a naked body or a graphic sex act to inspire lust, or depictions of graphic violence to make one aggressive. And furthermore, consider the volume. The so – called “clean” magazines, TV shows, movies, and Internet sites bombard you with near nudity, sexuality, swearing/profanity, and violence on a continuous basis. It isn’t an R or X rated movie, but it is still sin, and will still have the effect. If anything, it is even more dangerous, because the average person will see something outright raunchy every now and then – and not in the presence of children – while consuming something still sinful but not crossing some arbitrary line that the sinners of the world have set for us on a daily basis. Consider a drug analogy. Marijuana and beer might not be as bad as cocaine and whiskey in and of itself, but if you use marijuana and beer constantly, you are still in major trouble even if you never consume the whiskey and cocaine! 

Also, consider the message and underlying tone of modern entertainment. A basic rule can be followed:  if it doesn’t glorify God, then it is against God’s purposes. Even a TV show that depicts moral behavior without any mention of the one true God is harmful, because it creates the illusion that morality is itself good enough, and end rather than a means. Indeed, morality without God is not only vain, but harmful. And even that which depicts God, be careful! Are they depicting the one true God as described in the Bible, or a false god that they have created to promote their views and agendas; a god who will not punish sin, reward righteousness, and is absent from man’s daily affairs?  Even in “religious” entertainment, are the protagonists redeemed by their own good deeds and traits, or God’s hand and grace? Are such people those who seek only to obey God and do his will in a manner according to that of the Bible? If you wonder why I ask these questions, the reason is because the greatest temptation that man will ever face is the desire to worship himself; either directly or in the form of another man. It is vanity, no less than the sin of Satan himself, and even most of what passes for “moral” or “religious” entertainment these days is really worshipping vanity through the false religion of humanism. And of course, the most seductive form of this religion is the lie that you can still believe in, pray to, love, and serve the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost while still thinking that you can deliver yourself and do great things on your own.And of course, the vast majority of entertainment makes no attempt to be overtly moral. Still, with those things, you must be vigilant about their tone. What is pervasive in today’s entertainment is a spirit of perversion, which is depicting things in a manner diverse from what they are or should be, and subversion, which manifests itself with cynicism and rebellion. Examples of perversion include, depicting children as more intelligent and moral than adults (especially authority figures and particularly teachers, clergy, and parents), portraying people who outwardly appear to be virtuous as evil, and courageous, good – hearted people who happen to be criminals (and who even save the day!). What perversion does is undermine respect for God’s law and order. The more perversion you consume, the more perverted you become!  

As far as subversion goes, consider the endless rebellion. To what end? What is being rebelled against, and to the advancement of what agenda? Often (but certainly not always) some “issue” is made the goal of the rebellion, but even that takes an obvious backseat to the depiction of rebellion itself. Indeed, often the rebellion is pointless, or its goal is something that is clearly trivial or knowingly outright wrong. But it does not matter so long as you rebel, which is a virtue in and of itself! What is the object of the cynicism, usually a mean – spirited negative doubting that provides plenty of questions (many of them false) but no answers, and is never satisfied with any good thing (or furthermore doubtful that anything is truly GOOD, or if it is it won’t last)? It does not matter so long as cynicism is portrayed! And the worst is when the subversion is itself subversive. At least when there is a point to the rebellion or object of the cynicism, your eyes are open to the agenda, and you are able to consume the entertainment in that context. But the vast majority of the subversion is pointless. Furthermore, where we once had “the rebellious one” or “the cynical one” among characters, now all characters are cynical and rebellious. Hence, the viewer becomes desensitized to depictions of subversion, believing it to be either part of the entertainment or even to be normal acceptable behavior! Of course, a person who allows himself to be inundated with subversion will become, well, subversive. Indeed, it is the stated goal of many people who produce entertainment; people ranging from politically active
Hollywood directors to Dr. Seuss! But a viewer of such material will invariably rebel against the one true God and become cynical about his existence; a subversive against God! And that speaks nothing of all the false religions that have been introduced – covertly or overtly – into entertainment these days. Shamanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, witchcraft, New Age, it is all there, from the symbolism and concepts to outright formal practice.

The entertainment that does the most damage is not the pornography, horror and shoot – em up violence, or the video games, but rather children’s entertainment, cartoons and the like. Most of them, even the old ones, are subversive and perverse to the core. Cartoon characters were cross – dressing decades before humans were, not to mention depicting children “one – upping” adults and animals outsmarting people! Modern cartoons contain surreal, helter – skelter imagery that is hypnotic, addictive, and makes the viewer – especially children – highly receptive to its messages, which stay with them for years. How many ADULTS speak and act in a manner similar to that of characters from cartoons that they saw long ago often without even realizing what they are doing? An even better question:  how many would were it socially acceptable? A better question still:  are you one of them? And while entertainment for adults has to somewhat subdue their treatment of false religions and philosophies, children’s entertainment is completely uninhibited. It is filled from start to end with imaginary creatures (demons) and with characters chanting and conjuring; promoting paganism and humanism of every sort with the overt fervor of a Christian tent revival.  

Even the news can be a snare to the soul of a saint. Anyone who has watched news for any length of time knows that they are not above sensation and titillation. Also, the news engages in a lot of fear and hate – mongering, and generally promotes the mindset that man can and should depend upon himself to solve his problems. So how then, are we to please God by choosing entertainment that pleases him? Well, you can start by going straight to the source and asking him. You have to believe that God answers your prayers and speaks to you through the Holy Spirit! There is really no other way, because even much is produced under the “Christian” banner that displeases God and will deceive the saints. Also, you must consider the motivation of the person making the entertainment. Is the writer, producer, and director saved? Is the production company or distributor dedicated to disseminating God – pleasing fare? Is the content and message of the film a faithful depiction of Biblical events and principles? Asking those questions of yourself and your God is a way to both avoid movies, TV shows, magazines, and Internet content that displeases God and will cause the viewer harm, and also to avoid missing out on things that while seeming to have controversial and offensive content is actually something that God wants you to see!  

God has to be the ultimate judge. There are going to be some things that God wants some people to see but not others. And sometimes God will allow – or command – you to watch something at one time in your life but not others. And sometimes a person who generally produces material that pleases God will for whatever reason yield to temptation and produce something that displeases him. There is no way to know without the guidance of God himself through the Holy Spirit. Indeed, it is what the Holy Spirit is for; to serve as a guide.  

If you are not strong enough in your faith to reliably hear from the Holy Spirit, then the best thing is to just be very conservative. As a matter of fact, just turn the TV and computer off, close the magazine, and stay home from the movies. First off, if you aren’t hearing from the Holy Spirit, you have far bigger problems than the lack of entertainment! Second, there is just no way to be completely sure of even things that come on “the Christian station” without God guiding you. So, just go back to how people who lived a mere 100 years ago in America did (or be like the vast majority of people who do not live in
America) and just read your Bible, pray, and worship. If you truly love God, that will be the best entertainment there is. Second, you don’t really need that stuff! God is all you need, and there is no time like the present to start learning it! Who knows, you may well getting prepared yourself for a lengthy time away from your modern entertainment conveniences!

Remember, God told us to keep our garments clean. We cannot allow our minds, souls, and spirits to be perverted by corruption, if for no reason other than that corruption will certainly manifest itself with sinful behavior. Remember, James said that temptation conceives lust, lust brings forth sin, and the end of sin is death. So if you do not look upon that which is evil in a desirous or covetous manner (as in wanting to be fascinated, entertained, or thought – provoked by it) that will be one less source of temptation and lust for your soul, one less thing that is a threat to cause its eternal separation from God.


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