Sunday, October 16, 2011

Media Standards

What are good media standards?

This is a good question that I think every teenager should start answering for themselves. Because if teens keep following their parents' standards without any real convictions for themselves, what will happen? My guess: Once the parents let their children make their own decisions, they will flail. Suddenly, they might find themselves on a slippery slope with music and media. How could they not if they never really had any of their own convictions.

A verse sticks out in my mind about this.

Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you wither her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? (Proverbs 6:25-27)

Not all media challenges have to do with lust and sex. Sometimes, it could be compromise. Like glorifying things displeasing to God: disobedience to parents, homosexuality, profanity, or anything. So, we need to be developing - from Gods Word (key) - our opinions and standards. We cannot allow questionable media into our minds and not believe it won't affect us. Like the verse says, ONLY a fool would scoop coals into his lap and think he won't be burned. 

So, this begs a question: What is right?

Each of us must learn to make these BIBLICAL decisions on our own or one day we will find ourselves out there, constantly compromising and not sure of right and wrong.

I'm not going to offer a solution or a one-sized fits all answer. Because one size simply doesn't fit all. 
We all strive for perfection, but truthfully, that is going to look different to everyone. And that is really okay. And thats not the point I'm here to argue. 

What IS important is that we seek truth, believe it, and live accordingly.


Felipe Gama said...

Thinking is just like any other activity, the more you do it, the better you get at it.

If we get used from an early age to think about things and not just accepting everything we are told blindly, we will just get better and better at forming our own idea of what is "right".

And while these ideas may be different from each other, the important thing is that they are formed through one's own thinking process, and not from manipulation.

You may have noticed I did not mention the bible here, well, the reason for that is that I don't believe we should blindly follow the bible when it comes down to small matter like this. Many things are highly connected to the historical setting of the bible and we also can't be 100% sure about possible small losses of meaning through time, editings, translations or even our own interpretations on some points.

The bible is a great solid starting point for us to base our morals, but eventually, after enough "exercize", we should be able to judge it by ourselves, and when reasonable free-thinking people do so, even if they disagree at some points, one will see that their opinions are mostly similar.

After all, as they say, great men think alike. In this case, good men think alike.

At least that's how I see it.

PS: Btw, in case you are wondering, I'd say I agree with about 80% of the "morality beliefs" of the bible. When it comes to the teachings of Jesus specially, it may just be 100%, or at least VERY close to that.

Ashley said...

Blindly following the Bible would be the best thing that ever happened to me. Maybe I would stop being over critical and hesitant to obey the Word of God. But, I know that the point of this journey is the challenge, for which I am thankful.

I believe that the Bible IS the place to go for instruction. Of course, it doesn't give exact guidelines on what to watch on TV, but it says things like, "I will set before my eyes no vile thing" and " all to the glory of God" and "To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the spirit is life and peace." Those are the type of guidelines I'm referring to. Yes, each of our interpretations will be different. For some, "vile" might be cuss words, when for me, its sex scenes. The point is that we will interpret them differently and we must respect that about each other. It is important to figure out what is right and to the BEST OF OUR ABILITY follow the commands of our Savior. That means picking apart the Bible and establishing a moral method...letting scripture interpret scripture.

Felipe Gama said...

I agree with you, I just like to allow myself some room for disagreement.

There's a reason for this, it's very hard for something to be an universal truth.

Let's get a simple yet important scientific truth for example: The existance of gravity.

No one can possibly doubt that gravity exists, it can be mathematically proven over and over again easily. So one might easily get confident enough to claim "Gravity attracts us towards the center of the Earth with a force/speed of 9.6m/s". If it can so consistently proved everywhere, why would they not say that?

Still, you just need to go to the top of the Everest to see that this "absolute truth" won't apply anymore, gravity is considerably weaker there.

And travel a little further still into deep space and you are not affected by gravity at all! How amazing is that? What could so easily be claimed to be an "absolute truth" is nonexisting in the majority of the universe (there's much more empty space than planets/stars etc).

So, if one race of beings which had somehow developed in deep space, never landing in a planet, managed to get their hands into Newton's papers, how likely would they be to claim that to be just some piece of crazy gibberish?

The point of this was just to show how easily something that seems to be an undeniable and absolute truth in a context can become completely unsuitable in another context.

So, for something to be truly an absolute truth, something that can be applied equally in any context in any point of the world, it must be extremely wide in meaning.

This is why I particular like the teachings of Jesus Christ, His words and comands are always cryptic and elusive, they are never simple "by the letter" answers. And I believe that the reason for that was that Christ wanted His teachings to be valuable and "correct" not only for the "Israel" of his time, but to the whole of the world, and also to any time in the future. His message is so comprehensive that it would fit perfectly even for an alien civilization. The message of unrestricted love, peace and happiness is something that can truly be called universal, it's something that any being capable of producing thoughts would value.

Now, I don't have such a deep knowledge of the Bible, at least not compared to you for example, but there are other parts and messages that are not so universal. They were all "truths" for the times and/or places they were made for, but may not truly apply to different societies, like our's is.

I would never dismiss the teachings, they are of incridible value, all of it, but I believe myself to be able to see which messages from the bible would probably not have been given the same way, or even not be given at all, if they were to be delivered at our present society.

Some may disagree on which messages those would be, or maybe even believe that they are all valid for our society too, that's totally fine. But I believe that everyone should at least consider this, and have a closer look at some things, because if we don't, we risk caging ourselves into beliefs that might no longer apply.

I think the best example of Someone doing this is Jesus himself. He "updated" many of the Old Testament teachings that did not apply correctly to society anymore, giving them new readings and interpretations, or even dismissing some religious activities as not necessary anymore.


Felipe Gama said...

A different point for example. Alcohol abuse is a huge issue nowadays, starting from teenagers and sometimes lasting through one's whole life. One would imagine, based on His teachings, that if He was living on Earth now instead of 2000 years ago, Jesus would likely act or speak against the abuse of alcohol and the glorification of intoxication. But as it was not an issue at the time, it's not brought up and the Bible has little to no points about it.

We should think of the Bible as a book for guidance, not a book of absolute truths then.

Just one last point that could be made is exactly the existance of Jesus and the New Testament. The "Bible" already existe before Jesus was born. But it was not complete, the New Testament was made adding new things to it, updating some of the old etc. Why would we assume then that the Bible now is complete and perfect either?

The world changes, and it changes very fast, according to what little understanding I have of the Apocalipse book, there will be no more "Testaments" before the end of the world, which means that we will likely get no more "updates", but this doesn't mean that everything in the Bible is still perfectly up to date, some of the things in the Old Testament were already past their time well before Jesus came. I guess we just can't expect God to come down and update the Bible every few years whenever things change.

I understand you may not see it this way, this is indeed a touchy matter for an active Christian. But I don't see it as going against the scriptures, Jesus encouraged us all the time to believe more in humanity, He didn't come down here just to show-off how good He was, He came here to TEACH, and when you teach something, you expect people to learn, and then do that too! Jesus wanted us to try our best to be like Him, to achieve the wisdom and spirituality He had, but in order to do that we musn't enslave ourselves in inferiority.

As blasphesmous as this may sound, I think that if we become so engulfed into Christ's teachings, so prone into following them, and so confident in our capacity as individuals to follow His ideals, that we would even judge ourselves capable of interpreting, disagreeing and suggesting improvements into the scriptures, even if it turns out that we were wrong about it, God would be pleased about it.

After all, God could have simply given us His teachings, and showed us His love as His usual Self from Heaven, the way He did in the Old Testament.

Instead, He chose to come down and do all that, show us His greatest teachings and virtues AS A HUMAN. I think this is very simbolic, it seems to me like a message from God to us, saying that he was still God, possibly at His own best, while in a human form, a form that according to the bible was made in His own image.

I believe the message in this is that we were made not only to worship and follow, but also to achieve great things, God came to us as a human to show us what WE humans are capable of, he was telling us that we CAN and should try to become as great as Christ was.


Felipe Gama said...

Can you imagine? A human being going through his whole life spreading only love, peace and wisdom, drenched with humility and without performing a single sin. It sounds impossible but it's not, every single one of our sins comes from a choice by us, and if they are all choices, we could have chosen "no" every single time. It's hard, it's going to take a lot of effort, but God made us in his image so that we could accomplish even something so hard. But first we need to starting believing we can do that, if we give up before we try, we will never make it, and maybe that's the reason the world has developed the way it has.

Well, I'm sorry if this is a little crazy and unconventional, but as I said, I prefer to risk being wrong of my own mind than losing the opportunity of maybe being right because of a verse in the Bible that we are not even sure of how it should by applied nowadays. If we never grow this confidence in our capacities, we will never be able to fully enjoy the rewards of Jesus' teachings. It won't be me the person who will achieve that, I cannot be perfect anymore, I can't even be perfect from now own, that's beyond ME as an individual, but maybe, simply through trying and showing this belief to others, maybe some day, one will be born who, inspired by what may be by then a widespread belief, will set out on the goal of following the teachings to the maximum, and be good enough at it to actually succeed.

It's a good goal isn't it? Maybe I'm wrong and I got everything twisted somehow, but I don't think God would punish us for trying to make ourselves and humanity into the best that we can be.