A little parody with too much truth in it to be really funny.
John 18:40–“Give use Barabbas!”
There are many in this country today who have watched as the drama surrounding the hunt for Christopher Dorner has unfolded. And while many have been hoping for and anticipating his capture, there has been also, curiously, a small crowd of voices which has been applauding his actions and hoping for his exoneration. The purpose of this post is not to debate the merits of the case or to argue for his guilt or innocence. Any comments in that vein will be deleted as quickly as possible. You can argue that somewhere else.
The point I want to make is this: this approving crowd should not surprise us. Jesus Himself said “Men love darkness rather than light” (John 3:19). It has been that way ever since sin entered the world. We have an early example from Mt Sinai. While Moses was up on the mount, the people were wantonly carousing at the foot of the mountain in a drunken orgy worshipping the golden calf–while God was speaking to Moses the very Law these people were corrupting!
But we don’t have to go back that far in time to see why it shouldn’t surprise us that people are actually supporting this murderer (OK, alleged murderer). Think back to 1994. A white
Ford Bronco carrying OJ Simpson was leading LAPD on a low-speed chase through Los Angeles. People were lined up on bridges over the freeway to watch. Were these people hoping that a fugitive from the law would be caught and brought to justice? No. They were encouraging this fugitive to continue running from the law. (Again, not debating OJ’s guilt or innocence. Just sayin’).
And there is another trend. Not necessarily new, but it does seem to be more prevalent over the last several years. That is the concept of what I call “The Noble Criminal”. You see him (or her) in many movies these days. The team of bank robbers who are only robbing the bank to right some dastardly wrong or because one of the character’s loved ones is dying (usually due to the greed of the bank president or some other such embodiment of evil). Examples of these are movies like “Ocean’s 11″ or “Tower Heist”.
Then we have movies where the drug dealer or the prostitute or…well, you name it. Whatever the criminal enterprise, there are probably many, many movies glamorizing and glorifying whatever criminal you can think of. The most recent and most egregious (to me anyway) example of this was “The Sopranos”. OK, let’s get this straight. The mobster–the head of a Mafia family, a man who did not hesitate to kill anyone who crossed him–he was the good guy. The police and FBI who were trying to catch him–they were the bad guys. And people wonder why there are folks supporting Christopher Dorner. It is because we have a culture where The Noble Criminal is looked upon as a hero while those who are charged with apprehending him are evil.
But these are really no different than the crowd that stood at the Praetorium that day as Pontius Pilate stood before the teeming crowd, asking them which man they would have released. Would they have Christ–the innocent Lamb of God, the Man who had committed no sin, the Man who was the perfect embodiment of righteousness and godly perfection? Or would they have Barabbas–a murderous villain, a man who had most likely committed crimes so vile and horrible the writers of Sacred Writ dared not even name them?
“Give us Barabbas!!”
To see that man’s will is inclined toward evil, simply read the headlines. Many would rather have Barabbas than Christ.
I grew up on a steady diet of TV and have fond memories of such shows as CHiPs, the A-Team, Miami Vice, Facts of Life, Dukes of Hazzard, Diff’rent Strokes, Family Ties, Silver Spoons, Punky Brewster, Alf, the Cosby Show, BJ and the Bear, and Sheriff Lobo.
As I grew older my TV watching waned considerably, but it wasn’t until 2007 that my family and I completely cut TV out of our life and I haven’t regretted it one iota.
So since my TV watching days were long over, I would never have expected to be interested in or actually read a book about television, let alone one that was over 300 pages in length. But when Ben Shapiro’s book Primetime Propaganda was on sale at last year’s Border’s going out of business sale for a ridiculously low price, I couldn’t pass it up.
I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at what an engaging and thoroughly researched book it turned out to be. Shaprio has written a definitive work on the history, politics, and propaganda of television. He meticulously examples how so much of what has been broadcast on television leans left–far left–and how that came to be.
Here is Amazon.com’s description of the book:
The inside story of how the most powerful medium of mass communication in human history has become a propaganda tool for the Left
Primetime Propaganda is the story—told in their own words—of how television has been used over the past sixty years by Hollywood writers, producers, actors, and executives to promote their liberal ideals, to push the envelope on social and political issues, and to shape America in their own leftist image.
In this thoroughly researched and detailed history of the television industry, conservative columnist and author Ben Shapiro argues that left-leaning entertainment kingpins in Los Angeles and New York have leveraged—and continue to use—their positions and power to push liberal messages and promote the Democratic Party while actively discriminating against their opponents on the right. According to Shapiro, television isn’t just about entertainment—it’s an attempt to convince Americans that the social, economic, and foreign policy shaped by leftism is morally righteous.
But don’t take his word for it. Shapiro interviewed more than one hundred of the industry’s biggest players, including Larry Gelbart (M*A*S*H), Fred Silverman (former president of ABC Entertainment, NBC, and vice president of programming at CBS), Marta Kauffman (Friends), David Shore (House), and Mark Burnett (Survivor). Many of these insiders boast that not only is Hollywood biased against conservatives, but that many of the shows being broadcast have secret political messages. With this groundbreaking exposÉ, readers will never watch television the same way again.
Reading this book solidified for me what I already knew: That programs on television are intentionally liberal with the purpose of changing the hearts and minds of its viewers.
This book also furthered my bewilderment regarding Christians who use this medium as a form of entertainment. It simply boggles my mind at just how many Christians will not only willingly digest the steady stream of messages from television that are deliberately antithetical and hostile to their faith (and allow their children to do so as well), but also how so many Christians will defend and justify their consumption of this trash.
It’s amazing to me that they wouldn’t dare step foot in (and take their kids to) many places in this world because of the sin present there, yet they’re perfectly fine with allowing just about anything and everything the world has to offer to be piped into their home via a television set. What they shun in real life is happily digested as “entertainment” in the comfort of their living room.
I cannot recommend this book enough to those Christians who see little to no problem with regularly setting the images, messages, and “wisdom” of the world before their eyes, ears, heart, and soul through the medium of television. And the author of this book simply can’t be dismissed as a Legalist because he has no affiliation with the Christian faith and did not write the book from a theological point of view.
Shapiro reveals the covert and overt liberal, socialist messages in everything from All in the Family to Sesame Street and will cause you to never watch television the same way again.
A sobering examination into what the technology age has wrought on our families in this article from the New York Times.
Sometimes they hold hands while looking at their screens. But failing that, the couple has developed a form of physical shorthand, an “ ‘I’m still here’ signal” in which “one of us will tap the other one a couple of times with an index finger.”
(CBS/AP) Houston televangelist Joel Osteen is a preacher, lecturer and author. Soon, he’ll add reality TV star to his accomplishments.
The leader of a Texas megachurch, whose Sunday services are broadcast to audiences around the world, has signed an agreement to work with producer Mark Burnett to develop a reality show about his mission trips with members of his Lakewood Church.
Osteen, 48, announced the agreement Tuesday. He said the program would also feature Victoria, his wife of more than two decades.
Osteen also travels a cross the country presenting programs in large arenas. He is the author of several best-selling books, the latest of which is “Every Day a Friday.”
The British-born Burnett is executive producer of the CBS hit show “Survivor” and creator of such reality series as “Celebrity Apprentice,” “The Voice” and “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?”
Lakewood Church’s website says its broadcasts reach more than 200 million households. Its headquarters is the former Compaq Center, which the NBA’s Houston Rockets once called home. It took more than 15 months and $75 million to convert the arena into a church.
Albert Martin gives us encouragement and admonition in this decades-old message entitled Family Worship and the Use of TV.
A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.
As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. Mom taught me to love the word of God, and dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell-bound for hours each evening.
If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it all. He knew about the past, understood the present, and seemingly could predict the future. The pictures he could draw were so life like that I would often laugh or cry as I watched.
He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill and me to our first football game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars.
The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn’ t seem to mind but sometimes mom would quietly get up while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places and go to her room, read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave.
You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house–not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that burned my ears and made dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted. My dad was a teetotaler who didn’t permit alcohol in his home–not even for cooking. But the stranger felt like we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often.
He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (too much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man-woman relationship were influenced by the stranger.
As I look back, I believe it was the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave.
More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years. But if I were to walk into my parents home today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.
His name?…..We always just called him…TV
See also The Stranger sermon by Pastor Tim Conway.