Does It Matter If It’s Real?

I read a fascinating article in the USA Today called, Does it matter if it’s real?  Ann Oldenburg wrote this article on the recent half-truths and whole-lies in the celebrity media world.  Lance Armstrong’s scandal was discussed as well as Beyonce’s potential lip singing at the presidential inauguration.  Ann points out the shadiness of what comes through our televisions, laptops, and iPads every night.  Some began pointing this out 30 years ago.

Amusing ourselves to deathDoes it matter if it’s real?  That is a hard question to answer.  In one sense (if “it” refers to television/media) “it” does not matter at all.  Television is entertaining.  We should kick back and enjoy the show.  But it seems to me that due to the wide range of media outlets in our day, it is hard to distinguish between reality and reality TV.  Here is what I mean.

The library has fiction and non-fiction sections that are clearly marked.  We know what we are getting.  But am I in the fiction or non-fiction section when I am watching reality TV?  A sitcom?  FOX News?  CNN?  ESPN? The History Channel?

I believe the lines of truth are being blurred in light of our media culture.

Granted we know the difference between the Discovery Channel and the Desperate Housewives.  I do not believe the lines of truth have been obliterated, just blurred.  It is the middle ground stuff that gets fuzzy and it is the middle ground stuff that matters because that is where we live.

We have to explain right and wrong to our kids.  We have to decide what it means to love our spouse.  We have to solidify what success looks like in our life and work.  These are the things that get blurred; these are the things that the television lies about.

So it does not matter if it is real so long as we do not let “it” be the primary influence of our worldview.  I am still not sure how to enjoy the show without letting it have too much influence in my life.  I do believe television/media is a powerful medium for influencing so I want to be thoughtful.  But I do not believe that television is the devil… or the boogeyman.

I pray that Christians will stand up for truth at all times and in all places.  I pray that we make God’s word our meditation day and night.  I personally plan to try and pick up a good book more than I do the television remote.  Of course I plan to continue to enjoy some shows, I just don’t want those shows to become the lamp to my feet and light to my path.  God’s word is a better guide.  A sweeter one too.

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