Humanism In The Mass Media
Nothing has more power for good or bad than the media. By this term we refer to radio, television, newspapers, and magazine. Through the media the gospel has been preached and souls have been saved. Through the same means error has been spread and souls have been lost. Considering the number of converts we are making today, it is probably not an understatement that error has been victorious through the media 99.9% of the time! Not only has the media prevented conversions, it has been the cause of many Christians falling away from the truth. Jesus showed how the attitudes of society can affect disciples when He said, "And because iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:12).
The media is an inanimate object. The good or harm it does is dependent upon who controls it. It always goes to the highest bidder. Due to high costs, Christians have been quite limited in their use of the media. They can't compete with large companies and religious conglomerates that spend billions through this means. Many companies and producers seem bent on spreading certain philosophies. We shall deal with the two chief offenders - television and music.
Humanism And Television
It is a fact that we remember more of what we see than what we hear. Thus, it should be obvious that what we both see and hear has the possibility of affecting us the most. Television has been called the world's greatest teacher. It has also been called "the plug-in drug" and "the devil's eyeball," both obvious references to its harmful effects.
Time Spent. Daily TV watching per home hit a new high - an average of seven hours, two minutes, an increase of 14 minutes over 1982's record!(1) This was the largest jump since 1964. Here are the Nielsen ratings since 1950.
If you are anywhere close to the national average, that doesn't leave you much time for Bible study, personal evangelism, devotion, helping new converts or shut-ins, being a spouse and/or parent, etc. (Eph. 5:22f; 6:4; 2 Tim. 2:2; Gal. 6: 10).
Vulgar Language. The Coalition for Better Television reported an increase of 140% in profanity in the fall of 1983. Here were the increases: CBS up 182.4%; NBC up 171.2%; and ABC up 65.8%.(2)
If you would not let "corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth" (Eph. 5:29). Why would you permit it to be piped into your home in front of your family while doing nothing to stop it? Are we being consistent? One may reply, "They hear it all the time at school." What kind of justification is that? Does it mean that therefore they should also hear it at home? How far will we follow such reasoning on other moral matters? Think brethren.
Materialism. Affluence and worldly power are emphasized in many popular programs. This has been the setting for such programs as Dallas, Falcon Crest, Knotts Landing, Flamingo Road, Dynasty, and Different Strokes. More are promised. Many fathers are having difficulty meeting the demands on their pocketbooks for more material possessions. The Son of Man had no where to lay His head. He hasn't called us to that same lifestyle but there is no question Dallas is having more of an influence than our Lord's teaching. Remember His warning about the cares, riches, and pleasures of this life which choke out the pure seed (Lk. 8:14)? He has promised to provide when we put first things first (Matt. 6:25-34).
Violence. Dr. Thomas Radecki (psychiatrist) reports that "families with problems of aggression are watching large amounts of television, are more nervous and fearful of the world around them." He points out that hyperactivity in schools is related to television violence.(3) Since the Christian is taught to "render to no man evil for evil" and to "be at peace with all men" (Rom. 12:17,18), it is obvious that a constant diet that is the opposite of what our Lord taught and practiced will be detrimental.
Illicit Sex. Only the naive would deny the overwhelming obsession TV has with this subject. We cite one example. Jeff Greenfield wrote in TV Guide on TV's treatment of marriage. "One of the best illustrations of this attitude occurred some time back on Dallas, during the wedding of Lucy Ewing. As the solemn vows of matrimony were recited by the bride, groom and minister, the camera cut back and forth among no less than three husbands and wives - each lusting after a mate to whom he or she was not wedded. The pledges of eternal fidelity were the straight lines; the looks of illicit longings were the punch lines. And the joke was as anyone so naive as to believe that any marriage could exist as a bond between two young people in love."(4)
Examples of nudity, sexual innuendoes, raunchy dancing, glorification of incest and homosexuality are too numerous to mention.
God put a fence around sexual relations. It is called marriage (Matt. 19:9). Lusting after another is called "adultery in the heart" (Matt. 5:28). Fornication and lasciviousness will prevent one's salvation (Gal. 5:19-21). Humanism exalts this obsession.
The Kind Of Person You Are
Are you the kind of person who, in an average two month period: (a) engages in extra marital sex 426 times? (b) makes sexually suggestive comments outside of marriage? (c) is involved in public sexual activity 1126 times? (d) or commits 2087 acts of violence? A recent study of prime-time programs recorded that many incidents between March and May, 1981. Another study by Harvard University showed 70% of TV's references to sexual relations occurred between unmarried people.(5) As Red Skelton said: "Now they say this doesn't affect your mind . . . but if you can subliminally sell a product in 30 seconds, what does one hour of filth and violence do to the brain?"
Why Has TV Become So Corrupt?
Let us go behind the scenes to the beliefs of those responsible. Public Opinion published a survey of 104 of Hollywood's most influential writers, producers, and executives. Here are the results: 97% support abortion; 20% believe homosexuality is wrong; 51 % do not believe adultery is wrong; 45% claim no religious affiliation; 93% seldom or never attend religious services.(6) Some of these have won Emmy awards and are household names. Whether they are part of an organized movement, their practices and beliefs harmonize perfectly with the aims of The Humanist Manifesto.
Humanism And Modern Music
The Bible shows that music can have an affect on our behavior (1 Sam. 16). It can "soothe the savage beast" or bring the beast out of a man. One historian observed that "songs have overthrown kings and empires." What can they do to the faith of a Christian? Modern music is to blame for much of the decadence in our society. A wise man observed,"Let me write the songs of a nation, and I care not who writes its laws."
Dr. Adam Knieste, Ph.D., a musicologist who studies the effects of music on humans, says "music is a two-edged sword. It's really a powerful drug. Music can poison you, lift your spirits or make you sick . . . mellow tones can relax you, loud, grinding music can cause blood pressure to rise, leading to headaches and an anxious feeling." He observes that "only in recent years has music been used systematically to affect human behavior . . . . Eddy Manson, Oscar-winning composer and president of the American Society of Music Arrangers, points out that moviegoers pay good money to have their emotions stirred. 'We manipulate people like crazy and they love it.' Even the sex drive, says Manson, is kindled by the right music. 'The big thing about sexy music is the power of suggestion. One of the biggest motivations in record sales is the bedroom lure, which record companies all know about.'
"Manson warns people to watch out for musical manipulation. 'Music is used everywhere to condition the human mind. Hitler used Wagner to win the German masses to Naziism.' The real danger is 'because nobody takes musical manipulation very seriously."(7)
The wise man warned, "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he. . ." (Prov. 23:7). How does this fit humanism? When one considers the onslaught of pornography of the air waves, suggesting fornication and adultery, double entendres, along with anti-family and anti-God suggestions, and a "this world" view, it isn't difficult to make the connection. The Humanist Manifesto tells us that "no deity will save us; we must save ourselves . . . . We strive for the good life here and now . . . . In the area of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct . . . . We do not . . . wish to prohibit . . . sexual behavior between consenting adults. The many varieties of sexual exploration should not in themselves be considered 'evil'. . . . The state should encourage maximum freedom for different moral . . . values in society."(8) Music is being used to spread these views. The song Imagine, by John Lennon, is still being played on radio. It suggests the idea of no heaven, no hell, no religion, no private ownership of property, and a one world government.
Sexual suggestions have been made in such hits as "Why Don't We Do It In The Road," "Let's Spend The Night Together," "If It Feels Good, Do It," "Do You Wanna Make Love," "Lick It Up," "I Want A New Drug," "Baby, Give It Up," etc. When the "Culture Club" received a grammy recently, Boy George said, "Thank you, America. You've got taste, style, and you know a good drag queen when you see one."(9) ("drag queen" is homosexual jargon for a male homosexual who wears the clothing of a female).(10)
Some of the chief exponents have been the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Dr. Hook, Elton John, Kiss, Queen, Alice Cooper, and Rod Stewart. Some of their songs openly advocate a violent revolution of American society and of going to war with our parents. Alice Cooper has a song about necrophilia (intercourse with a corpse) titled "Cold Ethyl." Dr. Hook sings of fornication, bestiality, and homosexuality. (I have tried to be as polite as possible, but you need to know.)
Jerry Rubin (of the Chicago Seven) wrote a book titled "Do It. " He said, "Rock n' roll marked the beginning of the revolution. We see rock n' roll and dope as part of a Communist plot to take over America . . . . We've combined youth, music, sex, drugs, and rebellion with treason, and that's a combination hard to beat."(11)
Dr. David Noebel wrote: "Rock has turned our young ladies into sex machines, our young men into dirt balls and has abolished pride in personal appearance. It has degraded love, sex and marriage while upgrading lust and lasciviousness. It has made a mockery of morality and has encouraged bisexuality and homosexuality.
"And while attacking God, Jesus Christ, the Bible and Christianity, it has expressed sympathy for the devil. It has opened the door to the occult and paganism.
"It has alienated children from parents and widened the generation gap. It has downgraded patriotism and reached violent revolution. It has tarnished our nation's culture and promoted and sustained the drug culture. It has become our teenagers' number one addiction.
"Although rock music may have many defenders, it has absolutely no defense. It is a moral, cultural and spiritual wasteland. It has no redeeming social value. It is a veritable noise-emitting compost heap."(12)
What is the meaning? So far as this study is concerned, there is no significant distinction to be made between humanism and communism. When one looks at a communist country he may observe that the great moral problems we are encountering are not significant to those nations. The reason is best summed up in Ramparts Magazine, by pro-Castro publicist, Susan Sontag: "The American new left is correct to be anarchic, because it is out of power. The freaky clothes, rock, drugs, sex are pre-revolutionary forms of cultural subversion and so you can have your grass and your orgy, and still be moral and revolutionary. But in Cuba, the revolution has come to power, and so it follows that such disintegrative :freedom' is inappropriate."(13)
What Can The Christian Do?
The greatest need today is for the Christian to be informed and to take control of his/her life instead of letting the media control it. Begin at home. Pray (Jas. 5:16). Teach your children (Eph. 6:4). Then seek to inform and teach others (2 Tim. 2:2). As time and resources permit, write edifying and appropriate letters to those responsible. Remember that whatever happens to our society, you can be faithful. Christ, the apostles, and other early Christians lived in an evil society. Remembering their sacrifice will give you strength to endure. May God bless us all in these perilous times.
1. "Daily TV Viewing Tops 7 Hours," Fred Rothenberg, Associated Press, Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, KY (1/25/84).
2. "Study Says Profanity Up Sharply On Shows," (Ibid., 2/4/84).
3. "Violence On Television Has Psychological Effect," Thomas Radecki, M.D. (Ibid., 10/11/79).
4. TV Guide, Jeff Greenfield, (4/11/82).
5. Leadership Foundation (mail out), Martha Roundtree, Pres., p. 3 (1/84).
6.(Note: Corresponding footnote number not found in original documentation) Ibid., p. 2.
6. Ibid., p. 3.
7. How Music Soothes, Stirs and Slims You, David Chagall, Family Weekly (1/30/83).
8. Paul Kurtz, Humanist Manifestos I and II, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY (1979).
9. Messenger-Inquirer, (2/29/84).
10. David A. Noebel, The Homosexual Revolution, Tulsa, OK.
11. David A. Noebel, Rock 'N' Roll: A Pre-revolutionary Form of Cultural Subversion (booklet).
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 14, pp. 423-425