Chapter 4: Society at Large
The Danger of Hollywood
I have wondered, why did TV end up so bad? Here is what I have come up with.
Back in the 1950's little Johnny acts out in class a lot. The teacher calls his parents and says “perhaps Johnny should join the Drama class, then he could act out all he wants”. From the Drama program he ends up in Communications or the Arts in College, from where the TV personal come from. So we preselected the worse behaving students (who know the least about right and wrong) to become the TV leaders. We now know TV has turned out have immense influence and power. So the least able to know right and wrong where selected for the most influential positions in society, just backwards from what it should be!
How do we reverse this? We might have mandatory (one semester) communications (media) classes in the high schools (for college bound students) so that a broad spectrum of people are exposed, and therefore might choose media careers. And we must encourage and support the non-Hollywood type TV and Video producers, stations/networks and educators.
As said in the Business section TV advertising is useless to the consumer. All it does is try to influence people, especially the poor, to buy things they do not need.
One way to combat this is not to buy products advertised on TV. For most things that can be done by buying alternative brands, which are often less expensive anyhow. Of course there are some exceptions, such as most people need to own a car.
Logically the idea that more sales for a company or more viewer-ship for a TV station means economic success is incorrect. When these sales are only causing consumers to buy impractical products they do not need this only burdens each individual with wasteful spending, which hurts their welfare, therefore the economy in the long run. The difference between this type of corporate thinking for success and God's plan for economic success is mostly just looking at the longer range effect of our decisions and not just the short range.
Exploiting the poor with TV ads limits the freedom of the poor by stealing their money (although somewhat abstractly) and exacerbating their poverty. So regulating or even banning TV advertising is justified.
TV advertising promotes unhealthy behaviors, particularly in eating less healthy overly processed foods. Also the overbuying of goods is bad for the environment. And TV programming in general puts down parenting and teachers, disrupting education and order in society.
The News Media
So much room for improvement here, in my opinion.
First, it is clear news reporters are being taught in media school to be confrontational in their reporting. I think that is a bad mistake. It
1. Creates an atmosphere of contention, division, and intolerance, rather than cooperation, respect and tolerance. This spills over into the attitude of the general public, because TV persons are role models.
2. It puts the reporter in a physiological mood of taking sides. There is nothing wrong with a reporter having their opinions, but their JOB is to be reporting on others, not reflecting their own ideas. There is a natural reaction to confrontational behavior that goes with taking sides on an issue. The good reporter is just that, there to report, just do the interview as a reporter of the news. Focus on the basic methodology of question structure, and let the person being interviewed do the talking. Fairness require reporters who are open minded enough to see that sometimes the issues that seem to be so black and white to the general public at any given time often have deeper meaning and consequences that people do not always perceive. That is why free speech and an open mind are important, and a reporter needs to fair-minded and get a reasonable variety of opinions on a subject.
Second the news itself is way too negative, it always has been, it is a bad habit. We need news that is at least 50/50 positive headline stories. If there is anything we have learned from the past 70 years of television is that man is a creature s imitation. We need positive programming and news-reporting to give positive things to imitate.
Thirdly there is a danger in allowing a few people to own so much of the news media, Congress needs to look into this issue and rather anti-monopoly laws need to be enforced.
Lastly with TV in general, it should have been an influence for good in society, instead it is a pernicious influence, Congress should hold hearing on what wen wrong with TV and how the culture of TV can be turned around for benefit to society.
Other Points on Television
The dangers of Hollywood style TV are pretty obvious. Violence, sexual immorality, disrespect for parents, teachers, elders and other authorities, lack of family values, and all the health, social and economic consequences of these behavior patterns. Also disrespect for any purpose or meaning to life itself. Furthermore it pushes out any practical living advice or dealing with the real environmental, political, health and social issues of the day.
Even Christian TV can be improper. It is better to have a smaller Christian media outlet, even if one has to downsize, based on proper, honest and ethical fund raising than to have a larger TV station which twists your arm to raise funds, or has “buy your way to God's blessings” type of fund raising. Or they have Christian programming but ads that are inappropriate to the same.
I feel parents need to be very strict in limiting children's viewing to only appropriate channels. In such cable choice would be a big help in providing only healthier channels in one’s home. Cable Choice is being able to pick and choose individual channels to purchase rather than being forced to buy a whole bundle of channels as is currently done.
Many statements in the Qur'an about the Bible are often misquotes, and misinterpretations, probably not intentional just a misunderstanding on what the Bible teaches.
God IS one
One thing repeated in the Qur'an often as that God is one, Yes, absolutely this is true, but what is misunderstood here that along with God being One, universal, infinite and all powerful, he is also supernatural. He therefore can appear it any time in any form he wants such as in the figure of Jesus Christ, or any other way he wants. The Qur'an tries to explain away Jesus being God himself come to earth by appealing to the statements in the Bible that God and Jesus are two, and the trinity is three etc. What is missed is that the talk of Jesus being the son of God rather than God alone, is simply that God is trying to relate to people in a way (in human form) that the vast multitudes of people can understand better. Certainly God is one whole, BUT GOD IS INFINITE AND CAN APPEAR AS A HUMAN AT ANY TIME THROUGH SUPERNATURAL POWER.
So let us look at the question of truth, this word is used a lot in the Qur'an, and truth is very important. However truth does not occur in a vacuum, truth without evidence is perhaps no truth at all. God, in his discourse with the human race though the Bible provides PROOF of the Bible being the true Word of God by giving prophetic statements (predicting the future 100's or 1000's of years before it happens). These prophecies in the Bible have always come true, and are still coming true in the present day. The Qur'an is absent of this PROOF of its being from God rather than just written by men (likewise the Book of Mormon also).
The Qur'an speaks a lot of the disagreements between Christians, between Jews and between Christians and Jews. This is part of the process of learning. It takes a long time for societies/cultures to learn new ideas and truth. In fact this is a very important reason God gave us the Bible, so we can learn from the mistakes (and successes) of others, in this case the Jews, so as to overcome and not repeat them in the future. This learning process is still going on today as predicted by the Bible (as in many of Jesus's parables). When it is complete that is when the Kingdom of Heaven begins. This is predicted to be complete in approximately 1000 years from the present.
In this regard also I cannot see that 1400 years of Islam has been squabble free among Muslims, nor are Islamic societies any more successful than others.
God gave up?
Islam teaches that God gave up on Jews and Christians so gave the world Islam instead. God IS infinite and all powerful, he does not make mistakes. His plan for salvation was stated as only through faith in Jesus Christ. This was prophesied in, and a fulfillment of the Old Testament. To keep it simple God gave the world just one set of beliefs and teachings to adhere too (which he knows we need or he would not have given them). The Qur'an does not deny the Bible, including Jesus, just that those teaching were lost though bad translation over the years. But is this not like saying God did not have the power to preserve his word he gave to mankind? Far be it for God not to have the power to do this, he certainly did and does, as God being supernatural knows the future before it happens and does not, nor has not, made mistakes. In fact the world is proceeding just as God predicted and laid out in the Bible.
All societies in the world have their successes and their problems, only by working together, respecting our right to differences of opinion, and learning from each other can we make the world a better place and adhere to God's will.
The Problem of Homosexuality
Sexual addiction is very common but undesirable. Sexual addiction1 by its nature runs a-muck in many ways, including Homosexuality. Evolution has given us numerous instincts that now that we are human can lead us in a bad direction. The instinct for sugar, fats, sexual instinct, all had a logical reason to develop in animals. But with the free mind a human has, these can all run a-muck if not understood what their proper place is. We need to though understanding, properly place and control these instincts to reach our fullest happiness and potential as humans created in God’s image.
Sex is bad for one’s health, as well as unsanitary and can lead to many diseases. Furthermore one’s mind is not free, but consumed when in trouble with this addiction. Furthermore it wastes time.2 If you have the desire to quit, this is what I have found from experience as a male. Sex is an automatic instinctive response to triggers, such as female anatomy. You can NOT overcome this just by willpower. But you CAN have the willpower not to look. Not to look at or hang around immodest women. Also magazine pictures of any immodest or pornographic type. The same in movies, TV or on the Internet. I found this is the secret to overcoming sexual addiction, although it can take years.
Now sex is a vulgar emotion. One person can have a vulgar thought and think “There’s one of those vulgar thoughts again” and ignore it and move on. The next person may have the same type of thought and think, “I’m doomed to be a Homosexual the rest of my life”. Every person’s feelings are essentially the SAME, it is only how we INTERPET those feelings that can be different.
Studying God’s word can help us understand and interpret our feelings. God made us and knows how to give us good advice for out happiness and health. God leaves us a lot to do on our own for our health, but God’s advice helps us understand our emotions in particular. And remember God’s main message in the Gospels is one of forgiveness. No matter what our sin, or for how long, God offers us forgiveness.
Now all the above is the cultural side of the issue. There may also be a minority of homosexuals whom have damaged DNA or birth defects, which leads to this behavior. But this is not natural; evolution would only select for heterosexuals, so that is the only natural thing. DNA damage could occur either in the parents originally, or to the parent’s reproductive DNA. Also DNA damage and/or birth defects could occur in the individual in the womb or shortly thereafter. This is especially true nowadays with all the chemical contamination in the environment. Plastics, pesticides, air pollution, water pollution, illegal and legal drug use, food additives, household chemicals, etc. etc. Also and probably as important as DNA damage, these same chemicals can disrupt ones hormones and other body systems.
So while one should love all unconditionally, we can also recognize it as undesirable behavior and work to overcome the cultural and biological problems that lead to it.
1 Compare John 8:34 - Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin”(RSV).
2 Compare Mt 5:27-30
Distortion of thoughts
Many addictions distort our thoughts. For example cigarettes make the user feel calm and relaxed, while studies show the heart rate actually goes up dramatically while you smoke. Likewise sexual addiction gets so bad out minds often become distorted into thinking all that is going on around us, inanimate objects to people’s behavior, is connected to sex. Of course this isn't true, we can rest assured God did not make a world that works that way. Further biologically there is a LOT more to survival than only sex so, no everything would not have to do with sex. This reaction then is a distortion of our correct perspective on life CAUSED by the sexual addiction (an internal chemical addiction of naturally occurring chemicals in the body).
Why go unnatural
So you have a sexual addiction? Why go unnatural with it?
1. Many people do not understand the biological (evolutionary) meaning of sex, so they get confused by their feeling. Likewise teenagers can into trouble because sex is a vulgar emotion, and so pervasive and overpowering, that they relate it to whatever happens to be their fear or misunderstanding at the moment, become addicted to that behavior, and cannot see and possibly of other behavior.
2. Others who have had childhood abuse or abnormal learning can be imprinted or mislead with such behavior.
3. Other simply get so addicted to sex they try and do anything, this is unfortunately part of the distortion of our thoughts and common sense that happens in an addiction.
4. Still another group is those that are timid of the opposite sex and just buddy up with their own sex which is more familiar. This is perfectly okay if it is just friendship, but when it spills over to “sex”, even just occasional, it is unhealthy in itself, and off target in life management skills to see sex as built for other than child rearing.
Those in this situation often want to see it as a type of family, rather than what it is, an extra-family type of relationship. This shows a lack of care or understanding as to the importance of true families and the responsibilities of pro-creation. Male and Female are the natural, God given family structure, for good biological and social reasons. To raise (but not to conceive) children out of this structure is possible, but to do it intentionally is drifting so far from the ideal as to create social and health problems in the immediate situation and current generation, as well as to culturally add to weaker social structure for the future.
5. Some people do have hormonal problems caused by pollution (toxic chemicals in the body, like plastics) and/or birth defects (for example see this article from 2016 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161018103657.htm.). Possibly for people with DNA damage this may actually be a way nature has of turning them from reproducing and passing on the damaged DNA to a new generation.
6. Finally there is the cultural issue. Any set of habits of individuals or groups can grow into larger group habits (cultural or sub-cultural habits). If these habits are destructive to human survival and happiness then it is a negative situation. People, and societies, can change however and mature out of bad habits.
The Question of Sex
I write this essay because one never hears a advocacy for avoiding sex. Most TV shows and Ads, and other media, are constantly displaying sexual promiscuity, and promoting sex as a game. I have never heard, in my lifetime, anyone present the other viewpoint in the media.
Sexual instinct is, of course, a very strong emotion. What should one make of it?
Most likely God says to avoid it if possible.* It also logically makes common sense to avoid sex. Of course God and logic are always in harmony, it's our understanding that can be askew, as life is a complicated thing.
The reason, of course, is it's not the way to happiness or success in living. Else God would not advise avoiding it. So why do we have the emotion at all, and why did God let it be a part of our nature if we are supposed to avoid it? God created a world that has a natural reality to it, else the world would not be a real. These laws of nature make up the reality of the world and of life. They are natural, predictable and consistent. One of these is the Law of Evolution. The Laws of Evolution determine most of our instincts. Because plants and animals must reproduce to survive, a strong instinct to reproduce (sex) is imputed though the process of evolution in the animal species. This is part of the reality of human nature. This is the primitive part of our brain. However God has also given mankind a higher nature of reason and understanding. This is the civilized part of our brain, which is our true calling.
The instinct of sex, while it gets the job done in other animals, is quite inefficient, and for man is the not as effective as actual understanding of the need for reproduction, and requisite tempered behavior. Inefficient in that sex is such a strong emotion it is essentially a internal addiction, and as such it can consume a person’s thoughts and behavior. This is time wasting, mind wasting and energy wasting, plus, along the same reasoning, it effects one’s health adversely. Also sex is very unsanitary and can easily lead to diseases. It also can complicate relationships in a destructive way. With reason and tempered behavior one can put sex “in its place”, that is for pro-creation, and then discard it otherwise. This is the highest and best use of our strength and time, achieving a happier state when we are working at our daily coping and survival needs. This is the true source of happiness (trying to meet the simple challenges of life), and promotes the survival of the species the best; a synergy of survival and happiness. Also, of course, this survival of mankind and individuals is best achieved by cooperation. This is one of the major themes of the Bible, that success comes from cooperation not confrontation.
Such loss of productivity, and adverse health effects generally become more pronounced the farther one gets from the above stated ideal of sexual behavior. Celibacy except for pro-creation is best, if one can do it. Extra-marital sex is more destructive to relationships, more time consuming, and more conductive to disease than monogamist sex. Sexual addiction, monogamist or not is more destructive than occasional sex. Homo-sexuality, although often caused by hormonal imbalances (often caused by environmental factors, before or after birth) is more disease prone, and as wasteful as “straight” behavior.
So how is one to avoid sex if it is such a strong instinct?
First read your Bible and believe in God. Focusing on God help lift us into or civilized brain, rather than using our primitive brain. Further, the advice in the New Testament puts us on the right track. Plus pray a lot.
Next avoid exposure. (This repeats what I said a few sections back) This is what I have found from experience as a male. Sex is an automatic instinctive response to triggers, such as female anatomy. You can NOT overcome this just by willpower. But you CAN have the willpower not to look. Not to look at or hang around immodest women. Also not to look at pictures in magazines, movies, TV or on the Internet, of ANY immodest or pornographic type. I found this is the secret to overcoming sexual addiction, although it can take years.
The more you say no and do other things to keep busy, the more success you have. The more you don't have success, the more difficult to get out of the pit. But I have found, at least for me, that there IS a better state of thoughts that occurs after you have avoided sex physically or mentally for long periods. In other words it is an addiction that you need to separate yourself from in “time and space”. Modesty is not a question of being ashamed of one’s body, but understanding one’s body, recognizing that sexual feelings are real and can get addictive and dangerously out of control. Much of these feeling are of course instinctive and unfortunately quite automatic, so the best and easiest way to control oneself is to avoid exposure.
Lastly recognize how unhealthy sex is, it takes the mind away from edifying thoughts. It is physically damaging, including to the heart, and most unsanitary and disease prone.
*Matthew 5:27-32 The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. 10His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. 11But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 12For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it , let him receive it .