Idols of the TV Set

Tom Wheeler
Paden City, West Virginia

I believe that everyone agrees that if something takes the place of God in our lives, we are guilty of idolatry. And idolaters are condemned in Rev. 21:8 and I John 5:21. In connection with this thought I have found a couple of quotations that I would like to share with you. I quote them not on a level with the Word of God because they are not, but they are men who are respected in certain circles.

Martin Luther said, "Whatever a man loves, that is his god. For he carries it in his heart; he goes about with it night and day; he sleeps and wakes with it, be it what it may - wealth or self, pleasure or renown." Sir Francis Bacon said, "There are four classes of idols which beset men's minds. To these for distinction's sake I have assigned names, calling the first class Idols of the Tribes; the second, Idols of the Cave; the third, Idols of Market-Place; the fourth, Idols of the Theater." I would like to add one more class to list; Idols of the T-V set.

No, television is not wrong, but uncontrolled watching of the filth on the blob-tube has made its (bad) mark on society. I have read a number of surveys recently that show conclusively that the average person in this country watches T-V from 5 to 8 hours per day. Some people don't even have sets, so those who do have sets watch them even more than this to bring the average up. I doubt seriously that there are six hours of decent programs on all of the channels in a given day. There is adultery, immodesty, dirty jokes, suggestive stories, and glorification of the gangster on almost every show. Many of the songs glorify an affair or a trip on drugs.

Since many adults spend more time watching T-V than they do working, and almost without exception more time with T-V than in service to God, can they deny that T-V is their god? The majority of conversations are about T-V and T-V characters. Many children spend more time watching T-V than they do in school. Many parents use the T-V to keep the kids out of their hair and thereby shirk their responsibility both to God and the child. Read Eph. 6:1-4.

T-V could be made more beneficial to all by parents becoming interested enough in themselves and their children to use the off knob as well as the on knob. "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" (Matt. 22:37). If we are following Christ, which will take up the largest portion of our time and conversation; T-V, or service unto God?

TRUTH MAGAZINE XIII: 12, pp. 12-13
September 1969