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Blast From the Past (1990): Is TV an Idol in America?


What follows is an essay written by my ten-year-old son while a student at Somerset Baptist Academy in Mt. Perry, Ohio. As you will see, my son had been paying attention to my sermons. My three oldest sons, now 41 39, and 36, watched very little TV growing up. We did not own a TV until they were teenagers. (Please see The Preacher and His TV.)

Yes, television is an idol. We worship the TV every time we turn it on and watch it. The Devil is behind the television. It was his idea to make the television so he could enter people’s houses and rule over them. He loves his idea. It gives him his chance to kill people like that Bible says: that he’s a roaring lion and seeketh to devour someone.

In people’s houses everything is turned towards the television. We do not talk to guests. We watch TV and once in awhile make a comment about what there is to watch or something else. Even so-called “Christians” watch filthy, junky, and ungodly stuff on TV. Soon we become slaves and addicts to the TV.

When people watching the TV it is hard for them to stop watching it. People watch dirty and gruesome things and just say, what was wrong with it? or how terrible it was, and keep watching it. No one even bothered to not watch it or get rid of it. The devil laughs at us when we do this because he has won. People have let TV become a part of their lives, so therefore they let it control them instead of them controlling it.

When we as people come home we turn on the TV right away. Whatever there’s to see, it is on full blast. TV damages adults, but totally destroys children. One school teacher had her students not watch TV for 24 hours, and then write a report on it. One boy thought one minute [not watching TV] was like a month, another imagined that his favorite shows were on TV. Japanese children think that they cannot live without it. They have at least 3 TV’s in their homes. They think you are “different” if you do not have a TV to look at all the time.

The TV is a things that lays the way for the Anti-Christ. The Anti-Christ will rule the world by way of the TV. He will have everybody hooked on to the TV and watching filthy stuff, which allows demons come into their homes. TV is man’s number one idol besides other things. The Anti-Christ will speak through the TV. Unsaved people cannot watch or worship the TV during the Tribulation because they will be killed for not bowing down to him [Anti-Christ] when he comes on TV. We should not watch filthy things on TV. (Over 400 words)

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    Strip out the religious stuff, and he still has a point.

    I rarely watch TV. Right now, I’m in the same room as my husband, and he has the nightly news playing. My back is to his second monitor, where it’s showing, and I listen with half an ear. Most of the time, I can totally ignore the box or else put on headphones and play music so I’m not distracted by his noise. I read, I write, I bead, I chat with friends on social media. TV just isn’t interesting. Even the news annoys me, because news programs broadcast drama–often irrelevant drama–at the expense of sharing important information that people ought to know. I read two online major newspapers; they’re better. Sometimes.

    Growing up, we always had a TV, and I was a junkie with my favorite shows. (Anyone remember MAS*H? The Six Million Dollar Man?) Then I went off to college in the late 1970s, a time when students didn’t often have their own TVs. There was a TV in the dorm lounge, but I had nerdy tastes and my choices for shows were not popular. I learned to live without a TV, and the habit of watching never really returned.

    Lately, to have exercise entertainment, I’ve acquired a Netflix subscription. I’m not watching enough to get my money’s worth. There’s always something more important. (It may be that I need to re-prioritize some of my exercise time.)

    So, I’ve just been suspicious of the mindless consumption of media for a long time. I like it that way. OTOH, I will never criticize the watching habits of my friends; they’re adults. I don’t have children, so there are no grandchildren to worry about. Still, I hope my active media consumption will keep my brain working well for a long time yet.

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    I like stories, which is why I like TV. I am particular about what I watch, preferring well constructed story lines, intelligent dialogue, and good acting. Documentaries are always on my radar too. My hyper evangelical grandma had issues with TV, thinking it foul and vulgar, but she couldn’t ban it in the house because her beliefs in hierarchical family structure wouldn’t allow her to ban it for her mother or for her husband.

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    Wow, for a kid to have come up with all of that, he had to have been hearing it for a long damn time. I remember being that age and having very strong religious beliefs, too, although we weren’t against TV. I felt very strong and righteous about not wearing certain things, for example. And when I came home from church camp, I was full of fire/fear about Ouija boards, yoga, D&D/role playing games. Any of those things were a one way ticket to HELLLLLLLLL.

  4. Avatar
    Brocken The second half of the children’s program that is broadcast on the Bible Broadcasting Network now known as ” Keys for Kids” featured someone on trial for being an evil influence on gullible children. The name of this fiend? Mr. T. VEE. I just thought that you might be interested in listening to this children’s program that is no longer in production. That particular episode highlights the suspicion that many evangelical Christians have that TV watching is a bad influence on their children.

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Bruce Gerencser