I can admit it. I don’t really watch TV anymore (other than some sports and news). In fact, a new show to me is “Full House.” So you can imagine my surprise when I saw, while I was in a hospital waiting room, a new show called “Naked and Afraid.” As the title suggests, the participants of the reality show are not wearing any clothing.
I am told by those who regularly watch TV that there is now an outgrowth of programs based on the people being naked. At risk of being called a Puritan, I want to offer a few reflections of what I think this means about our society’s view of sexuality and entertainment.
When God made Adam and Eve, they were without sin and were naked and “unashamed.” After sinning, they became aware of their nakedness and hid from God, as they felt shame. In today’s society, we are so overly sexualized that we are now naked and do not feel shame.
Unlike the pre-fallen Adam, we do not feel shame because we are innocent. I am afraid we don’t feel shame any longer because our consciences have been deadened.
High standards are for our own good
Putting TV shows out there based on nakedness is a gateway to temptation. The Christian standard on sexuality is, admittedly, high. “Let there not even be a hint of sexual immorality,” said the Apostle Paul (Eph. 5:3), and the sexual act is only within the confines of marriage. God put this standard there for our own good, hard as that seems.
C.S. Lewis said it this way, “The Christian attitude (about sex) does not mean that there is anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out.”
Who among us has not transgressed this standard, if not in deed at least in thought? Yet, we cannot break God’s rules without being broken. Chasing sexual pleasure outside of marriage is like shooting yourself in the foot.
Repeal and replace
Indiscriminate TV viewing, sometimes called “channel surfing,” is a portal of temptation. Temptation, yes, to consume programming that is inappropriate, but perhaps as important, it is a temptation to waste time. A Nielsen study in 2010 showed that the “average American watched 34 hours 39 minutes of TV per week.
Consider what could be done during that time? By the age of 26, Winston Churchill was a best-selling author, Member of Parliament, a millionaire and a war hero. During a 10 year period of his early life, he wrote eleven books and more than 400 articles and also painted countless works on canvas. Churchill knew how to redeem time. As Christians, we are called to pray and serve, not merely leisure and work. So the next time you are channel surfing, simply turn the remote off, and pay attention to the other opportunities of activity around you.
What is worse, TV viewing has not become mere entertainment. It has become an escape. After a long day’s work or school, we come home to drown our sorrows in a few hours of indiscriminate TV viewing. Fill our minds, forget our woes. Meanwhile, we only defer our problems when we do not face them and forgo the joys of a full, abundant life in Christ (John 10:10).
Shows will come and shows will go. God will hold each of us accountable for every moment of our lives, including each minute spent watching the tube. How sad will we be, at the end of our years, to look back on the time wasted watching shows like “Naked and Afraid” or worse. Let’s change our habits while there is time! As the Apostle Paul said, we could be “making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16).