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Viable Alternatives to Watching Sin for Entertainment

By Gary F. Zeolla

 

      In this issue of Darkness to Light Newsletter, I will present a conversation I had with someone responding to Darkness to Light Newsletter Volume XVIII, Number 1 (V18N1). It included my Hallmark Channel Email and my article on Christianity Today, The Christian Post, and President Trump.

      I knew from the initial email I was going to publish this conversation in this newsletter and post it on the website. That is why I spent so much time on my responses. I even added to my responses after I sent them to elaborate on some of my points for publication here. That is how my comments ended up so long. However, I think the issues that are raised are important for American Christians to consider, so I hope the reader takes the time to read through the entire conversation.

      I have added subtitles to my comments to make them more readable. The emailer’s comments are enclosed in greater than and lesser than signs. I have replaced the emailer’s use of the first of George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words” with “*expletive*.”

      Note also, this discussion occurred at the beginning of this year (2020). That is why there is mention of New Years and the Super Bowl. That is also why there is no mention of the Coronavirus. But given the current (mid-April 2020) widespread stay at home orders, this article is even more relevant than when I wrote it. A couple of the mentioned “alternatives” are not currently possible for those of us under stay at home orders, but most are.

      As you are reading this article, ask yourself a couple of questions: “Am I using my stay at home time to watch even more sin for entertainment? Or am I using that time to improve my relationship with the LORD?”

 

Exchange #1

 

>From: Greg _______

Sent: Wednesday, January 1, 2020 9:35 AM
To: Gary Zeolla
Subject: Re: Darkness to Light - Vol. XVIII, No. 1

 

      You’re very self-righteous, and seem to want everyone to look at you and say, “How Holy is he!”

      Don’t get me wrong... I voted for Trump in 2016, and I will vote for him again in 2020. But I find it funny that you will boycott “The Hallmark Channel” because it has a few *expletive* commercials on it, but you will again vote for Trump, who is a fallible human and does not always act in a Christ-like manner.

 

Think about it, Gary. ;-)<

 

      Thank you for your email. I anticipated comments like yours, but I didn’t expect the foul language, the very thing I said I take Trump to task for.

      As for there being a contradiction between my not watching Hallmark due to those *expletive* commercials but supporting Trump even though he is “a fallible human and does not always act in a Christ-like manner.” Well, first, the latter could be said about all of us. None of us are infallible, and none of us always act in a Christ-like manner. We are all sinners. That is why we need a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

      Second, I anticipated such a comparison between the two articles in that newsletter by way of comments in them. But I guess I didn’t make that clear enough, so let me do so now. I addressed the issue of alternatives to Trump in my article No Viable Evangelical Alternatives to President Trump. Here, I will address alternatives to watching sin for entertainment. But first, let me respond to one of your other comments.

 

Self-Righteous?

      As for me being “self-righteous” because I do not want to watch a “a few *expletive* commercials,” it sounds to me like the Holy Spirit is convicting you for watching sin-promoting programming, but you are deflecting that conviction onto me.

      Furthermore, I make it clear in that email to Hallmark that I fear the commercials are just the camel’s nose in the tent so to speak. That in the near future, such sin promotion will be permeating the movies themselves. I am not about to continue watching, knowing such could happen at any time. I simply do not enjoy watching sin, and I cannot understand how anyone who claims to be a Christian can either. But I will leave that to the Holy Spirit to convict other Christians

      But I will say, as I do in my God’s Sex Plan books, if everyone in the USA who claims to be a Christian would stop watching all sin promoting TV shows and movies, the ratings and ticket sales of such would plummet, and Hollywood would be forced to change its ways. But the fact that such programming still exists in droves shows that most Christians do not find such programming offensive.

      Yes, that disturbs me. If that makes me “self-righteous,” so be it. I think it means I am being Biblical and led by the Holy Spirit, and I have yet to have anyone give me evidence as to how watching sin for entertainment is Biblical.

 

Alternatives to Ungodly Programming:

      Unlike Trump, to which there is not a viable Christian alternative, in the case of Hallmark (and all secular programming), there is a viable alternative, that of Christian programming. I mention Daystar and TBN in that email to Hallmark. I should also have mentioned WPCB, my local (Pittsburgh area) Christian TV station. I would assume there are similar local Christian stations in most other major cities.

      There are also streaming services that offer Christian and wholesome programming, like Parables.tv and Pure Flix. Even secular streaming services like Amazon’s Prime Video offer many Christian and wholesome movies. I would suggest starting with The Stranger trilogy, three excellent movies. Watching them will then have Prime suggesting many similar movies. I do not subscribe to Netflix or other streaming services, but I would assume they have available similar movies and would then provide similar suggestions.

      Or better, rather than watching TV and movies, Christians could spend that time reading the Bible, praying, attending church and Bible studies, fellowshipping with other Christians, engaging in works of mercy, and evangelizing. You know, the things the Bible actually says we are to be doing (Matthew 25:31-46; 28:19,20; Acts 1:14; 2:42; 6:1-4; Col 3:16; 4:2-6; Heb 10:25).

 

Exchange #2

 

>From: Greg _______

Sent: Saturday, January 4, 2020 1:00 PM

To: Gary Zeolla

Subject: Re: Darkness to Light - Vol. XVIII, No. 1

 

      “I cannot understand how anyone who claims to be a Christian can either”

 

      Christ somehow was able to “see sin,” he hung around the sinners. We are all sinners, brother.  If you want to remove yourself from all sin, it’s time to pack it up and kill yourself, because you are in no way helpful to this world, with your severe judgments.  :)<

 

      I’m referring to watching the sin portrayed in TV and movies for entertainment. But you purposely ignored that context in order to make a snide comment.

 

Exchange #3

 

>From: Greg _______

Sent: Saturday, January 4, 2020 1:41 PM

To: Gary Zeolla

Subject: Re: Darkness to Light - Vol. XVIII, No. 1

 

      If watching what you think is a good Christian movie on a channel, and you see one little commercial that makes you angry...

      You sound a little weak, buddy.  Don’t you know that in Christ’s name, we have power over the evil spirits?  We can watch something that isn’t wholesome and not be affected by it? It sounds like maybe you don't believe in the Holy Spirit’s power over silly *expletive* like this?

      And yes, I included the word “*expletive*” because I want you to be happy, and if someone uses a word you don’t agree with, you feel very self righteous about it. :-)  My gift to you, on this new year.  Hope you’re happy with my gift, because Christ will not gift you with anything for acting holier-than-thou. :-) <

 

      I was on my cell phone when I responded to your previous comments. That is why it was so short, as I don’t type so well on my phone. But now that I’m on my desktop PC, I will give a more thorough answer. I also waited a couple of days to send my response, as this is the last time I will respond to you, so I wanted to be sure I said everything I wanted to say.

 

Missed my Points:

      That said, you apparently completely missed my points about “sin-promoting programming,” “the camel’s nose in the tent,” and “ratings and ticket sales,” so let try it this way: the purpose of the commercial in question, which starts with a male-female wedding then shows the lesbian wedding, is to normalize homosexuality. That is also why almost every major TV series now has a homosexual character, far out of proportion to the actual percentage of homosexuals in the population.

      And it is working. Most Americans today no longer believe homosexual sex is a sin, and most Americans believe homosexuals constitute a far greater percentage of the population than they do. I discuss all of this in my Sex Plan books.

      In fact, just thus past week, I was listening to a podcast featuring Austin Ruse, author of Fake Science: Exposing the Left's Skewed Statistics, Fuzzy Facts, and Dodgy Data.  He stated that a recent survey found Americans believe 10-25% of people are homosexuals (depending on the age category, older less, younger more). But in fact, just 1.6% of people are homosexual, according to a 2018 study by the CDC. I cite similar statistics in my books.

      That means, Americans are overestimating by ten-fold the percentage of people who are homosexual. That misconception is due to the frequency in which homosexual characters appear on TV, as I discuss in my Sex Plan books. That greatly exaggerated percentage then normalizes homosexual sex in people’s minds.

      As a Christian, I do not want to “vote” for such misleading programming with my eyeballs, but that is what you are doing anytime you watch it. You are telling Hollywood you want them to continue to produce TV shows and movies that are deceiving people into thinking homosexual sex, and now homosexual marriage, is normal, as opposed to the sin that it is.

      The same goes for fornication. After decades of Hollywood depicting premarital sex as normal, the vast majority of Americans now believe premarital sex is perfectly normal, even expected in a dating relationship. Again, I discuss this point at length in my Sex Plan books. And again, by watching such programming, you are helping to keep it on the air, ensuring that people are deceived into believing premarital sexual sin is perfectly okay to engage in.

 

Super Bowl LIV:

      As for how I would react if I was watching an otherwise “wholesome” show and saw “one little commercial that made me angry,” well that happened during Super Bowl LIV. It was not the advertisers’ commercials that I thought were problematic, though there were few that I found entertaining as is usually the case, it was the previews for the halftime show. They were rather lewd from a Christian perspective.

      I didn’t stop watching the first half because of them. In fact, I was a bit glad for then. They let me know to not watch the halftime show, as it was obvious it would be a skin fest. From what I heard about it later, it was that and more, complete with a stripper’s pole and lots of crotch grabbing.

      The issue is though, why did the NFL think it was okay to air such a lewd halftime show during what is supposed to be family programming? The answer is simple: millions of Americans who claim to be Christians regularly listen to music, watch music videos, and attend concerts by singers who dress and act in such an immoral manner. As such, the NFL figured the days of Christians complaining about a mere “wardrobe malfunction” are long gone. If, however, all those in America who claim to be Christians did not support such entertainment with their entertainment dollars, then such would not be so normal that it would be featured on a Super Bowl halftime show.

      As for myself, I stopped watching the Super Bowl at the end of the first half, put on something else for a while, then went to bed. If every person who claims to be a Christian in the United States had done the same, the ratings for the halftime show and the second half would have plummeted, and the NFL would have been put on notice to not air such lewd halftime shows in the future. But as it was, with millions of American “Christians” watching that lewdness, next year’s halftime show will probably be even worse.

 

Hanging Around with Sinners:

      As for saying Jesus “hung around sinners,” yes, He did. But He did so to lead them away from their sin and into a relationship with Him:

 

            27And after these [things], He went out and saw a tax collector by name Levi sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Be following Me!” 28And having left all behind, having gotten up, he followed Him. 29And Levi made a great banquet for Him in his house. And [there] was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were with them reclining [to eat]. 30And their scribes and the Pharisees began complaining against His disciples, saying, “Why do you* eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinful [people]?” 31And answering, Jesus said to them, “The ones being healthy have no need of a physician, but the ones having it badly [fig., those who are sick]. 32I have not come to call righteous [people], but sinful [people] to repentance” (Luke 5:27-32).

 

      Now, I can think of a scenario in which you might be able to justify watching sin-promoting media based on Jesus’ behavior. If you are watching a popular TV series so that you can then talk to your friends, co-workers, or whoever about the programs, so that you can then point out to them the deception that is occurring in its depiction of sin, in order to lead them to repent of committing such sins and to trust in Christ for their forgiveness, then great. That would be similar to me reading the literature of cultists and other false teachers. I do so in order to be able to refute their false teachings in writing and in person.

      However, I seriously doubt that is why you watch sin-promoting media. You more likely are doing so because you enjoy the titillation of seeing sin being depicted. Moreover, to say you are not being affected by it is obviously not true given your habitual use of foul language.

 

Being Affected by What We Watch:

      Furthermore, people claim all the time that what they watch on TV does not affect them. If that is true, then why do companies spend billions of dollars every year advertising on TV? Are they just flushing their advertising dollars down the toilet? Hardly. Companies know their ads work, just as Hollywood knows what it is doing in affecting people’s attitudes and behaviors with its programming. I discuss this point in regard to the acceptance of homosexuality in my article Television and Homosexuality.

      More fundamentally, I am guessing the reason you are not bothered by watching homosexual sex and premarital sex being promoted is because you don’t believe these behaviors are in fact sinful. That is a reasonably safe guess, as most American Christians today do not believe the Biblical teaching in these regards. That can be seen in the large number of churches that now ordain practicing homosexuals and performing homosexual weddings, and in the fact that the vast majority of American Christians have or are currently engaging in premarital sex.

      This ignoring of the clear Biblical teaching on these matters has been fostered by the programming Christians are watching. But such behaviors are in fact sinful. I presented a couple of the passages in this regard in my Hallmark Channel Email, and many more in my Sex Plan books.

 

Role of the Holy Spirit:

      As for the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians, it is not so that Christians can enjoy a “little” sin, or even so that they can enjoy watching entertainment that has just a “little” sin in it. The role of the Holy Spirit is to convict people of sin, to led them to repent of it, to trust in Christ for forgiveness, then to abandon sin and to live lives of righteousness apart from sin.

 

      1What then will we say? Do we continue in sin so that grace shall abound? 2May it not be! We who died to sin, how will we still live in it?...

            15What then? Will we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? May it not be! 16You* do know, do you* not, that to whom you* present yourselves [as] bondservants for obedience, you* are bondservants to whom you* respond to, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? 17But thanks [be] to God, that you* were slaves of sin, but responded from [the] heart to the pattern of teaching to which you* were committed. 18But having been freed from sin, you* became servants to righteousness (Rom 6:1-2,15-18).

 

            5For the ones being according to [the] flesh set their minds on the [things] of the flesh, but the [ones] according to [the] Spirit [on] the [things] of the Spirit. 6For the mind-set [or, the way of thinking] of the flesh [is] death, but the mind-set of the Spirit [is] life and peace. 7Because the mind-set of the flesh [is] hostile towards God, for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed is it able [to be]. 8Now the ones being in [the] flesh are not able to please God.

            9But you* are not in [the] flesh but in [the] Spirit, since [the] Spirit of God dwells in you*; but if anyone does not have [the] Spirit of Christ, this one is not His. 10But if Christ [is] in you*, on the one hand the body [is] dead because of sin, on the other hand the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of the One having raised up Jesus from [the] dead dwells in you*, the One having raised up Christ from [the] dead will also give life to your* mortal bodies through His Spirit indwelling in you*.

            12So consequently, brothers [and sisters], we are debtors [fig., under obligation], not to the flesh to be living according to the flesh. 13For if you* live according to [the] flesh, you* are about to die; but if by [the] Spirit you* put to death the activities of the body, you* will live (Rom 8:5-13).

 

      The point is, I still believe the Holy Spirit is convicting you of watching sin-promoting, ungodly media. That is why you are attacking me as being “self-righteous.” You appear to have little concern about righteousness and holiness, so your sinful attitude is being exposed by my behavior, and you are resisting the Spirit’s conviction on you in that regard.

 

Bible Verses Please:

      But if you still want to defend your practice of watching sin-promoting media, then I would ask you to please cite me a single Bible verse that says Christians are to watch sin for entertainment, or that says Christians are to engage in behaviors that encourages other people to sin, or that the role of the Holy Spirit is so that Christians can enjoy just a little bit of sin.

      While you’re at it, please cite me a Bible verse that says Christians are to use foul language to shock someone they disagree with. Strong language, maybe, but not foul language, as I will discuss in the rest of my CT article that will appear as a chapter in my forthcoming book Dems Cannot Beat Trump, so They Impeach Trump: Volume One.

      All that said, please consider the following passages of Scripture. They teach the exact opposite of what you are alleging and doing, while supporting what I am saying.

 

      1Now He said to the disciples, “It is impossible for the stumbling blocks [or, enticements to sin] not to come, but how horrible it will be [to the one] through whom they come! 2It [would have been] better for him if a donkey millstone [i.e., a huge millstone turned by a donkey] [had been] put round about his neck, and he had been thrown into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble [fig., to sin] (Luke 17:1-4).

 

      But now you* yourselves also put off [fig., cease from] all these [things]: anger, rage, malice, blasphemy, [and] obscene language out of your* mouth (Col 3:8).

 

      Stop letting any rotten [fig., foul] word come out of your* mouth, but if anything [fig., what] [is] useful for building up [fig., edifying] of the need [fig., as needed], so that it shall give grace to the ones hearing. (Eph. 4:29).

 

            3But fornication and all impurity [or, immorality] or covetous desire [or, greed], stop letting it even be named among you*, as is fitting for holy ones, 4also [neither] indecent behavior [or, obscene speech] and foolish [or, idle] talk nor coarse joking [or, vulgar talk]—the [things] not fitting—but rather thanksgiving. 5For this you* are knowing: that every fornicator or unclean [or, impure] [person] or covetous person (who is an idolater), does not have an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. [cp. Gal 5:19-21] 6Let no one be deceiving [or, misleading] you* with empty [fig., foolish] words, for because of these [things] the wrath of God is coming upon the sons [and daughters] of disobedience. 7Therefore, stop becoming joint-partakers with them.

            8For you* were at one time darkness, but now [you* are] light in [the] Lord; as children of light be walking about [fig., conducting yourselves] 9(for the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all moral excellence [or, generosity] and righteousness and truth), 10proving [or, discovering] what is acceptable to the Lord. 11And stop participating in the unfruitful works of the darkness, but instead, even be exposing [them]. 12For it is disgraceful even to speak of the [things] being done by them in secret. 13But all the [things] exposed by the light are revealed, for every[thing] revealed is light. 14For this reason, He [or, it] says, “Be waking up, the one sleeping, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:3-11).

 

Current Events:

      Be closing, I want to make it clear, I am not saying Christians should isolation themselves from the world. I strongly encourage Christians to stay informed on current events, and that includes politics. That is Biblical, as the Biblical writers and figures were clearly conversant on current events of their day (Matt 14:3,4; Luke 3:1,19; 13:1-3; Acts 5:35-39; 17:22-23,28; 18:1,2; 26:1-3; 1Tim 2:1,2).

      In today’s world, that means watching, listening to, or reading the news every day. In that way, Christians can engage the culture and non-Christians on issues of current relevance. That is why I started my politics website and write politics-based books, to provide conservative and Christian-based commentary on current events. But that is far from watching hours upon hours of sin for entertainment.

      In regard to news sources, when investigative reporter and legal analyst Gregg Jarret filled in for Sean Hannity over Sean’s Christmas vacation, he said conservatives should not get their news from liberal sources, such as CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, or the Washington Post, as that would be to support “fake news,” enabling it to stay on the air or in print. Instead, conservatives should support conservative news outlets, like Fox News Channel, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Examiner.

      I would agree with that, and it is exactly what I am saying about sin-promoting media. By watching it, you are supporting it, enabling it to remain in business.

 

Publishing and Responding:

      Finally, unless you object, I will be publishing our conversation in a future issue of Darkness to Light Newsletter and/ or posting it on the website, in accordance with my posted Privacy Policy. I am sure others have the same objections as you, so it would good to publish our conversation.

      If you want to respond, go ahead. You can have the last word. But I expect your response to include the requested Bible verses. If not, then don’t bother, as I base my beliefs and behavior on what the Scriptures teach, not on foul language or snide comments. And my reading of the Scriptures says I should not be subjecting myself to ungodly influences unnecessarily nor engaging in behavior that could lead others to sin. For further explanations of my position, I again refer you to my God's Sex Plan books.

 

Final Exchange

 

>From: Greg _______

Sent: Tuesday, January 7, 2020 1:34 AM

To: Gary Zeolla

Subject: Re: Darkness to Light - Vol. XVIII, No. 1

 

      Didn’t read past the first two sentences.  Have fun Gary.<

 

Final Comments:

      As indicated at the beginning of this two-part discussion, I was not so much writing for Greg as for the wider audience of my newsletter subscribers and website visitors. Unlike Greg, I hope those readers took the time to read through all of my comments. That is because, it truly does disturb me that millions of Americans who claim to be Christians think nothing of watching sin for entertainment, sometimes to the tune of several hours a day. But such is clearly contrary to the Book they claim to believe is the Word of God. Yet, at the same time, Christians are woefully ill-formed on current events.

      In my opinion, those twin reasons are why the American Church is so anemic, unable to affect the general culture. It is in instead the culture that is affecting the Church. Imagine if Christians would spend all that sin-watching media time filling themselves with the things of God, rather than the sinful things of the world. How different today’s Church might be:

 

      1Therefore, since you* were raised together with Christ, be seeking the [things] above, where Christ is, sitting at [the] right [hand] of God. 2Be setting your* minds on the [things] above, not [on] the [things] on the earth. 3For you* died, and your* life has been hid with Christ in God. 4Whenever Christ, [who is] our life, is revealed, then also we will be revealed with Him in glory!

            5Therefore, put to death your* members, the ones on the earth: fornication, impurity [or, immorality], lustful passion, evil desire, and the covetous desire [or, greed], which is idol worship, 6because of which [things] the wrath of God is coming upon the sons [and daughters] of disobedience, 7in which you* also at one time walked about [fig., conducted yourselves], when you* were living in them. 8But now you* yourselves also put off [fig., cease from] all these [things]: anger, rage, malice, blasphemy, [and] obscene language out of your* mouth. …

 

      16Let the word of Christ be richly [or, abundantly] dwelling in you*, in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing each other, in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace [or, gratitude] in your* hearts to the Lord. 17And every[thing], whatever you* shall be doing in word or in deed, [be doing] all [things] in [the] name of [the] Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the God and Father through Him (Colossians 3:1-8,16-17).

 

      Finally, I am hard at work on my three-volume set Dems Cannot Beat Trump, So They Impeach Trump. God-willing, it will be available in the not too distant future. It will discuss the political issues raised in this exchange in detail. In the meantime, my two-volume set God’s Sex Plan is already available. Those books discuss the sexual issues raised in this discussion in detail and touch on the political issues as well.

 

Reference:

      All Scripture references are from: Analytical-Literal Translation of the Bible (ALT). Copyright 1999-2020 by Gary F. Zeolla (www.Zeolla.org). Bolding added for emphasis.

 


New Coronavirus Section on Politics Website

Coronavirus Articles and Commentaries is a new section on my Biblical and Constitutional Politics website.

    At this date (4/17/20), this section now contains seven articles and four pages of commentaries. These were all posted since the last issue of this newsletter were published. As such, rather than listing each page separately, I am just linking to the main page. But be sure to check back on that page occasionally, as I am readily adding new material.

    The header to this section reads:

      It is my hope and prayer that the information in this section helps the reader to wade your way through the misinformation being put out. I have done my best to be as accurate as possible in this section. Most of this information is based on having listened to various health and financial experts during news reports and their appearances on various talk shows and especially during the President’s daily Coronavirus task force press briefings, of which I am trying to watched just about every minute. Thus, though I word some of the information as my opinion, those opinions are formed based upon the opinions expressed by these various experts. If you see any details you think are inaccurate, please contact me, and I will check into it and make corrections as needed.


Viable Alternatives to Watching Sin for Entertainment. Copyright 2020 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry (www.zeolla.org/christian).


For comments on the above article, see Comments on Previous Sex Issues.

The above article was first published in the free Darkness to Light newsletter.
It was posted on this website April 17, 2020.

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