Christian Youth and Media

Liba Hopeson

 

The postmodernists postulate that there is no objective or absolute truth. To them truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference, such as a language or a culture. A postmodernist view the world outside of themselves as being in error, that is, other people’s truth becomes indistinguishable from error. Therefore, no one has the authority to define truth or impose upon others his idea of moral right and wrong. Thus, they reject the book such as the Bible which is believed to be absolutely true. Post-modern philosophy has enormously influenced many people, particularly in the west. It is greatly held and accepted by youngsters who wish to live an unrestricted life. They want absolute freedom in life; hence they heartily embrace this philosophy.

 

In the year 2016, surprisingly, oxford dictionaries word of the year was post-truth, an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. Post-truth culture is sweeping and affecting lives of many. Post-truth culture is a culture that elevates feelings and preferences over fact and truth. This culture is little similar to hedonism. Hedonism is the philosophy that pleasure is the most important pursuit of mankind, and the only thing that is good for an individual. Hedonists, therefore, strive to maximize their total pleasure. They believe that pleasure is the only good in life, and pain is the only evil, and our life’s goal should be to maximize pleasure and minimize pain.

 

Now, under the topic Christian youth and media, you might be wondering why I start with postmodern philosophy and post-truth culture. It is said that certain Jewish writers are very competent in indoctrinating the mind of the readers. Gradually, as the readers read the articles in the magazines, without their realization, they are brainwashed with the ideas contained in the articles. Likewise, the media induces and alters our mind. The philosophy of postmodernism and post-truth culture is given a lot by media. The notion that every truth is relative is greatly instilled in the mind of the youths by media. However, sadly, many do not realize it and embrace postmodernists’ philosophy without even knowing what postmodernism is. Therefore, many Christian youths are misled and ruined, falling in the trap of media-influence.

 

Media is an inescapable reality. When we think of media, we could be extreme in two ways. For instance some totally ignore and shun social media as if it is inherently bad. Before I used social media, I was also pessimistic and cynical. On the other hand, some bask in the glory of media so much so that they fail to recognize and realize the blight or the damage that the media brings about. Apparently, there are positive and negative impacts of social media. Though it is unwise to study only the negative effects of something, bearing in mind that the merits or advantages of media are perceptible, I would like to stress on few negative effects of social media in this write-up. Undeniably, the ministry of God can be carried out in a much better and effective way with the help of media today. Nevertheless, the ruination of Christian lives, particularly the youth, due to wrong use of media is appalling. I would implore you to rethink on how the Jewish writers coax and sway their readers using enticing ideas. Let me point out three pertinent effects of media on youth.

 

Firstly, I would like to stress on the wave of media in changing our perspectives and worldviews. Our mind is extremely powerful. The things we see enchant and beguile us tremendously. The pictures, films and videos the media present alter our worldview extensively. Though many youths do not have the knowledge of relativism, it impinges upon them compellingly. Relativism is the belief that there’s no absolute truth, only the truths that a particular individual or culture happen to believe. If you believe in relativism, then you think different people can have different views about what’s moral and immoral. The idea ‘it depends on how you think’ is instilled in the minds of the youth by media. Thus, sin is normalized; a filthy thing is embraced without any thought of guilt. What is scripturally wrong is projected as lawful and permissible.

 

For instance, physical relationship before marriage is considered as legal by many today. It has become like an accepted cultural practice. However, it contradicts the Biblical teaching. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old; you shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matt. 5:27-28). If what we see can lure us to commit sin, Christian youths using media is a great challenge. It may not be wrong to say that the fascinating scenes offered by media boost our lust intensely. Today, many account lust as love. In the name of love relationship, many defile the temple of God. It has become like a lifestyle. Media kills our conscience. If there is love, there is no evil (1 Cor. 13:5). If we love God, we must obey His commandments (John 14:15). He commands us to flee sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:18). Those who commit the sin of fornication will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). Thus, this is a very serious sin. Nonetheless, the seriousness of the sin of fornication is shrinking greatly in the minds of the young as the media projects that it is not a sinful act. If we take this lightly, it can kill our soul. That is why Jesus said, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out” (Matthew 18:9). What we see have a great influence on our mind; what we think have a great influence on our actions and life. Media promotes the popular belief, ‘do what you think is right instead of what other people think is right’

 

Secondly, let us discuss about the use of time on media. In one way, it may be true to say that media makes us lazy. It is also true to say that media does not make us lazy. We spend a lot of time on social media; so in one sense, we are not lazy. But, many use social media in wrong ways. Prioritization of task is fundamental. We are not supposed to be idol worshippers. Satan may not directly tempt us to worship him like he tempted Jesus, but he would tempt us to love a thing or a person more than God. It could be social media. Loving anything or anyone more than God is a kind of idol worship. God created us for His glory. We are created for Himself. There is purpose of life. We cannot fulfill the tasks God has given us if most of our time is spent on social media. We must use the gadgets; we should not let the gadgets use us.

 

Today, there is a dying habit of reading. Study shows that the performance of many students is waning due to excessive use of social media. Being complacent with mediocrity is a big problem today. As Christians we believe that our God is the source of all wisdom and knowledge. So, we believers ought to be excellent. Excellence cannot be attained if we spend too much time on media pointlessly. Therefore, setting proper time for its use is significant. If your life and career is spoiled due to use of social media, it’s a colossal loss. Christian youth must strive for excellence by spending more time in reading the Scripture and books.

 

Thirdly, I would like to focus on the logos or the use of words on social media. Using apt and good words is extremely crucial in life. Words can build and destroy life. God created the universe through the utterance of words. Word can heal and wound a person. Problems abound today as a result of using bad, invective, derogatory and offensive words. In social media, the youths are becoming more aggressive, absurd and blatant. Many young people are very quick in commenting and arguing on social media posts. While using social media, many a times we forget that our words can hurt others. Proverbs 10:19 says, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise”. Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles (Proverbs 21:23).

 

We are rational beings, so we ought to discuss any topic rationally. However, seemingly, irrational discussions abound in social media. When we argue, many a times we forget that we are Christians. We become unchristian easily. So when you chat or discuss in social media, remember the commandment to love one another! Restrain your thoughts and be slow to give comment(s). We fail to have constructive or healthy argument. We don’t know how to debate on the subject but we attack the person we debate or argue with. We must learn the art of having constructive debate. As we read books very less, we are unable to have rational discussion. I say this because if our knowledge is shallow, we tend to share our ideas and opinions emotionally and impulsively. But when our knowledge augments, we are more careful with our words. The use of our rationality also enhance after reading books. Thus, we need to be more diligent, read more books, think wisely and share ideas which are constructive and good.

 

Lastly, in this postmodern world, it is always good to read the Bible. To know whether something is true or untrue, we must find answer(s) from the Bible. Media can be used as a tool by the devil to normalize sin. Sin is in fact no more ugly and filthy in the eyes of many today. If you don’t take sin seriously, it is appropriate to ask whether media has deceived you. Media can be attractive and resourceful, but it can also be destructive. Biblical principles should be always remembered and used. Post-truth culture does not make our life better; rather it aggravates our life condition. You can become a better Christian by using media wisely. You can also become unchristian by wrongly using it. Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

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