There is a battle for control of our minds, and it’s playing out to a large degree in the media.
Television, music and the Internet are filled with deadly leaven—from their ability to affect moods and emotions to their stunning power to shape cultural ideas and trends to how they brazenly promote the smutty, the base, the coarse and the violent. In these last days, the Family of God should beware the deadly leaven of modern media.
“[T]here’s only one perspective, and it’s a very progressive perspective,” said Fred Silverman, former chief of television network giants abc, cbs and nbc (emphasis added throughout). By progressive, he means liberal.
Hugely successful Hollywood film and television producer Leonard Goldberg said liberalism in the tv industry is “100 percent dominant. And anyone who denies it is kidding or not telling the truth.”
The negative impact of television can be downright scary. According to a 2002 Scientific American article, researchers discovered that television viewing can be like a drug addiction. They found “that regardless of the programming, viewers’ brainwaves slow down, transforming them to a more passive, non-resistant state.”
Speaking about his network’s influence over teenagers, former president of Viacom Music & Entertainment Group Doug Herzog said his network has “superpowers.”
Sigmund Freud’s nephew and the originator of the modern public relations field, Edward L. Bernays, wrote that “the American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world today. It is a great distributor for ideas and opinions.” Bernays wrote this in 1928. The entertainment industry’s impact is far greater today!
“The horror of television … is that the information … goes right into our memory pool and perhaps we react to it later but we don’t know what we are reacting to,” observed Dr. Erik Peper, an expert on biofeedback. “When you watch television you are training yourself … so later on, you’re doing things without knowing why you’re doing them or where they came from.”
These men know television is a powerful opinion changer. The daily glut of tv advertising is case in point. Advertisers pour millions of dollars a year into tv advertising. Take the homosexual agenda as an example. In 2012, United States Vice President Joe Biden remarked that the tv show Will and Grace, where a homosexual man shared a home with a straight woman, “probably did more to educate the American public [about homosexuality] than almost anything anybody’s ever done so far.” Today you would be hard-pressed to find a tv show without a gay or lesbian character as the television and entertainment industries continue to push homosexuality into the mainstream and down the throats of the public.
Obsessed With Sex
The television, movie and music industries are completely obsessed with sex. There is a reason for that: Satan is obsessed with sex.
Sex-drenched promotions on television and in movies specifically target teens. Ken Graffeo, who formerly served as executive vice president of marketing at Universal Studios said, “We’ve tried to reach out to teens by integrating our promotions into their lifestyle ….”
In May 2014, Family Watch International (fwi) released a documentary titled The Porn Pandemic: The Devastating Effects on Children, Family and Society. Pornography is devastating to families, according to fwi president Sharon Slater. “Young children who have access to technology are being exposed to pornography, and their immature brains are not equipped to handle these images,” she said. “It only takes a fraction of a second for explicit images to be permanently imprinted on the brain.”
Slater said that pornography addiction is not simply a lack of self-discipline. “Many of the people we interviewed reported not being able to control their viewing, regardless of the consequences to them or their families,” she said. “Children can have secret addictions that they carry well into adulthood that negatively impact their ability to do well in school or at work and that negatively impact their attitudes towards girls, and later toward their spouses, and even their ability to function sexually with real people.”
In millions of homes across America and Britain, teens and adults are being sucked in to this sex-drenched culture.
It’s no secret that Hollywood is liberal, but the problem goes far beyond this established fact. Hollywood is openly hostile to God! Screenwriter and author Lloyd Billingsley explains, “In the unwritten constitution of television … God is effectively written out of existence ….”
Some within the industry can see the far-reaching consequences of kicking God out of entertainment. Former chief executive officer of Columbia Pictures David Puttnam observed, “[W]e are destroying ourselves. … We are untying the fabric of our society.” Through television, Satan is causing millions to conform their lifestyles to his lifestyle.
The music industry is just as powerful when it comes to shaping minds, attitudes and behavior. Teen music rules the airwaves. “This teen stuff isn’t just driving the music business, it is the music business,” an Elektra Records executive remarked. Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in The Missing Dimension in Sex that a rebellious teen culture dominates the world.
Music, perhaps like no other form of entertainment, transcends class distinctions and brings evil uniformity to a national culture. “Music is the language of languages,” musicologist David Tame wrote. “[T]here is none that more powerfully moves and changes the consciousness.”
Just as television is not just peddling images, music is not just peddling music. It is peddling a lifestyle. And it is likewise breaking down moral barriers. “We manipulate people like crazy …,” Oscar-winning composer Eddie Manson said. Music is used everywhere to condition the human mind. It can be just as powerful as a drug, and much more dangerous, because nobody takes music manipulation seriously.”
Satan uses artists and industry moguls as pawns to spread his “do what you want” leaven.
As shocking as this all may be, just think: The television and music industries are actually regulated industries. They have to adhere to a standard—although that does not say much today. But the Internet is not regulated! It is a wholly lawless landscape, where the most revolting and evil family-destroying poison is just a click away.
CRAWLING WITH DEMONS
Mr. Armstrong decried modern music and television. In one article, he wrote about how the Beatles changed the culture of the Western world: “In a way, the Beatles started this modern trend in Satan-influenced lifestyle of degenerating culture and sense of social values” (Worldwide News, Dec. 22, 1980).
The entertainment industry is crawling with demons. Many artists are not only influenced by demons, some actively seek to be led or even possessed by them. “I tried to empty myself and let the spirit of Sethe inhabit me,” Oprah said about her work on the set of the movie Beloved. “Every morning, before my scenes, I lit candles and said the names of these slaves. I prayed every day to the ancestors.”
Consider the change that overtakes pop singer Beyoncé. “Beyoncé was a shy, quiet kid,” Rolling Stone reported in 2004. “When she was 7 and in the first grade at St. Mary’s, a Catholic school in Houston, a dance teacher, Miss Darlette Johnson, pushed her to join the school talent show. ‘I was terrified and I didn’t wanna do it. And she’s like, “C’mon, baby, get out there,”’ Beyoncé says. ‘I remember walking out and I was scared, but when the music started, I don’t know what happened. I just … changed.’ Both of her parents were in the audience. [Her mother] recalls, ‘We both said, “Who is that?”’
“That was Sasha. It was many years before Beyoncé’s stage persona got her name, but from that first time onstage it was clear that when the shy, humble girl got onstage, she became someone new. ‘I don’t have a split personality,’ Beyoncé says, ‘but I’m really very country and would rather have no shoes on and have my hair in a bun and no makeup. And when I perform, this confidence and this sexiness and this whatever it is that I’m completely not just happens. And you feel it, and you just start wildin’ and doin’ stuff that don’t even make sense, like the spirit takes over. That magic, that’s what I love. If you see me on tv. I’m not a humble, shy person, but it’s a transformation into that’” (March 4, 2004).
These are just two examples from the entertainment industry. There are many more.
COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE
In Israel, modern media and entertainment are a religion—a religion of vanity, filled with the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Modern media is a “do what you want” religion—a philosophy of life with no barriers. It’s slavery of the will. Yet no one has to watch demon-inspired television. No one has to watch demon-inspired soft or hard pornography on daytime and late night television. No one has to listen to raunchy, demon-infested music. But millions do.
What about us?
2 Corinthians 6:17-18 tell the true Christian to come out from among the unbelievers and be separate! Revelation 18:4 commands the same: “Come out of her, my people”! Come out of demon-infested, Satan-ruled Babylon. Expounding on 2 Corinthians 6:17, Mr. Armstrong said in 1980 that “He [God] is talking about coming out of this world. The Church are the called-out ones—called out to be separate. We have to live in this world, and we are told to go to the world with the message, but we must live a different lifestyle from the world.” Read 2 Corinthians 7:1. Satan is leading Hollywood and music in the exact opposite direction. What does a Christian have in common with that?
Through television and music, Satan is pushing all kinds of despicable sins into people’s lives, increasing the amount and depravity of sins. It was like this in the days of Noah. Mankind had degenerated to the point that Satan had a grip on everyone but Noah and his family. “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man”—just before the return of Jesus Christ (Luke 17:26). But instead of worldwide destruction caused by water, the destruction will come from burning fire! (2 Peter 3:5-7).
In “The Role of Television in the Decline of U.S. Prestige,” Mr. Armstrong wrote, “The concern is not for what viewers ought to see, but for what the largest number will prefer to see. And television experience shows what the public wants, not what is good for it, but will entertain. … The very nature that is in humans tends to relax, let down, take the course of least resistance, escape responsibility and degenerate.”
In the July 1968 Plain Truth, Mr. Armstrong named two causes of this sick world: 1) wrong education and 2) the “wrong use of a too large segment of television times, the motion pictures, the unfit reading matter, starting with comic books for children, pornography, sex-arousing articles, books and magazines ….” Entertainment is destroying this world!
What are you doing with your free time? Television, especially, preys on human nature. And as we’ve seen, entertainment has gone beyond this to pushing a specific agenda to tear down the God-ordained family unit. Christians are commanded to flee sin—not stew in it. A little leaven leavens the whole lump (Galatians 5:9).
We need to examine our consumption of mass media. Media is filled with deadly leaven. The temptation is strong to put a good thing to an injurious and wrong use. If we truly understand the price our sins cost the God Family, we will not give in to that temptation.
Mr. Armstrong defined sin as the absence of God’s righteousness. Is there an absence of God’s righteousness in modern media? To what degree, do you think?
“There may be much beautiful scenery in [a] film—and a gripping story. Satan may well have engineered it that way. Perhaps 99 percent of a film is clean, wholesome and just interesting enough to communicate a single defiling experience” (Good News, May 1974).
HOPELESSNESS IN SIN
Christians need to be circumspect. If we can’t control our use of entertainment and the screens and gadgets we view it on, Christ says to cut them out of our lives. It is better to be safe in Christ than to be eternally sorry. Christ said that even looking on a woman in lust is adultery and fornication (Matthew 5:27-28). Such behavior, if unrepented of, will keep a person out of the Kingdom of God.
In an April 1985 last day of Unleavened Bread sermon titled “Coming Out of Sin,” Mr. Armstrong said, “[I]nstead of coming out of sin, in the world it seems that the public media (not only newspapers and magazines, but radio, television, every means of reaching the people) are trying to show people how to sin …. One of the greatest sins today … and one of the things Satan is using against the world … is sex. … Sin is coming at you and being thrown at you, in every way and from every direction, as never before.”
2 Timothy 3:1 says, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” As verses 2-7 explain, evil is waxing worse and worse. Know it—and be sure to watch unto prayer.
A month after Frontline crew members left Rockdale County and the town of Conyers—where they had interviewed parents and children caught up in the perverted and sex-drenched escapades that left 20 teenagers suffering with syphilis, and many others with genital warts and herpes—a young teenager entered the common area of Heritage High School in Conyers, brandished a gun, and opened fire, injuring six classmates. And America wondered all over again, what is wrong with our kids? As one commentator said in the aftermath, “You’re dealing with highly volatile, emotional teenagers.”
But is that all there is to it? The Bible explains there is a prince of the power of the air now working in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-3). This genderless being, identified in the Bible as Lucifer and Satan, was endowed with the gift of music, and is exceedingly persuasive (Ezekiel 28:12-18). He once convinced millions of angels, each one, to try and take over God’s throne. Now he, and those millions of demons, have been cast down and confined to this planet (Revelation 12:7-9). He is using modern media to dull the senses of parents, and twist and warp the minds of young people. And the end result of Satan’s lifestyle is utter destruction!
In the aftermath of the Rockdale teenage sex scandal, Beth Ross, director of counseling at Rockdale County Schools, remarked, “I think there are a lot of children who are running their own lives, who are testing limits or don’t know what the limits are.” And nobody seems to want to tell them. A dad of one of the children caught up in these sins remarked, “[M]y feeling is you need to give them a little bit of leeway. Let them go out and sow their oats as they are young ….” To the naive, that appears good. Human nature wants to appear good but it loves to do evil. But if this father understood Christ’s sacrifice for him and his family, would he be so casual about sex and the family?
“The anxiety of not having the limits on a regular basis can be extremely debilitating on a child,” Ross continued. Think about that! Anxiety and fear are associated with sin; they are its devastating effects! (Romans 8:13-15). Sin introduces a degree of mental chaos and mental disorder. For some, it’s worse than others. Fear and anxiety can grip the mind and cause all kinds of devastating effects—including drug, alcohol or sex abuse or addiction—fueling a downward spiral into more and more hopelessness and isolation until Satan has gripped the mind fully. The lesson from Rockdale County is that teens not yet mentally or emotionally mature or educated in the God Family vision cannot successfully fight back. They need guidance, limits, the love and attention of parents. When hopeless, teenagers can resort to violence against others—some teens even resort to violence against themselves. Parents really need to think about this.
Many parents in Rockdale County simply ignored their children and let them marinate in modern culture. Of course, not everything in the industry is wrong, but are we mature enough as Christians to discern the difference? Should a parent trust a teenager to discern the difference and stay away from the very things peers are saying is nothing but harmless fun? Can a carnal teenager defeat Satan? Not without lots of spiritual guidance and help.
Let’s not be unwise. Satan starts off with subtle deceits until he gets someone to the point where he can bludgeon them into hopelessness and despair, into the darkest of evils. Satan will not go away no matter how much we might wish it. We must don God’s spiritual armor and help our children also fight back in righteousness.
HOLY SPIRIT IS ABUNDANT LIVING
There is a gnawing soul hunger in every human, and Satan has substituted vanity—lawlessness, which is self-love—for the Holy Spirit. Parents and teenagers in this world glut themselves on television, music and other forms of vain entertainment, thinking it will give them happiness, but all it gives them is slavery and death (Romans 6:16, 23). Satan has millions bored with their lives, seeking escape from the so-called humdrum of life. He has completely deceived them about sin. They just don’t think sin is all that bad.
Satan broadcasts rebellion but disguises it as freedom and happiness, as the glittering, sparkling and spicy substitute for God’s wholesome way of living. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. And because he is obsessed with sex, he fills the airwaves, television and movie screens, and the radio with it. He’s constantly repackaging his rebellion as progressive, modern and fun! But it all leads to eternal death!
The antidote is to redeem the time! Your time has been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. It’s not your free time—it is God’s. Therefore, do not yield your time unto sin, but yield it as a servant of righteousness!
Rather than seeking empty, even deadly, pleasure in what Satan has created, God wants His Family focused on family, on serving, growing and putting their hearts in God’s Work—hungering and thirsting for righteousness!
There is a battle for control of our minds, and it is playing out to a large degree in the media. Beware the deadly leaven of modern media! Thankfully, all of this will change at the return of Jesus Christ, when mankind will be made righteous and television and music will be put to proper use. Those who overcome today and support the message of this Church, and the vision of a new world to come, will shine like the stars for ever and ever!