Lie to Me is a great police procedural series, but at times it lies to me, and of course, the rest of the audience. In the episode titled “Unchained,” a gang leader named Treo claimed to be reformed. He even wrote a book about his enlightenment process, oddly enough called Unchained.
Treo was such a persistent bad guy that the authorities flat disbelieved him, but they had to do something with him because the other Latino gangbangers in the joint seemed to want him dead. That’s where Dr. Cal Lightman comes in with his team of face-readers.
After the drama clears away, Dr. Lightman gives Treo a clean bill-of-health for release—but not quite all the drama. It seems the widow of the guy Treo was sent up for killing held a mean grudge, so she walks up to his home and holds a .38 caliber revolver to his chest. What does Treo the murderer do, but bravely expresses his complete understanding as to why she wants to kill him, and with tears in his eyes he says he’s sorry. Of course she melts, with a half-dozen police pistols pointed at her, and lets him take her gun.
This is all very sensitive stuff. In fact, I even felt my tear ducts begin to tingle … until I realized something was missing: They made no mention of his having been born again through Messiah’s blood, willingly shed on the Roman cross in exchange for our sin-guilt. Seems Treo had read a book of poetry that had touched him so deeply that he saw the error of his ways, and presto-change-o, he was no longer a scumbag murderer.
Alright, I’ve oversimplified it just a smidge, but all during the show, “experts” reiterated how it was extremely rare for leopards such as Trio to change their spots. That’s TV though, why would I expect any mention of the Re-Creator? And that’s a single example of why Christ-following families must use caution in their TV viewing habits.
“Why, there’s nothing wrong with benign TV programming such as Lie to Me,” some will say, “you’re just being a right-wing fundamentalist bigot.”
While there was no objectionable sex or language, and little violence in that program, there is this thing called “World View,” that has a lot to do with who gets the credit for both good and evil. By the Gospel according to Television, Science is the Final Authority on truth, and mankind is accountable only to him/her self; good is solely due to human altruism, and evil is always blamed on improper child rearing or religion.
Think I’m full of it? When was the last time you saw a TV drama or sitcom portray a clergy-person as blameless, or even as just a godly man or woman?
Have you ever heard of the power of repetition? “Experts” report that repeating the same behavior twenty-one discrete times creates a habit. As I’ve heard that at least twenty-one times, it must be true.
Think about it. Would major corporations pay Madison Avenue ad agencies millions to create advertisements, and millions more to have them broadcast repeatedly on TV if repetition didn’t work? We, God’s church, are allowing ourselves to be sold a total bill of goods with our entertainments—not to mention the ads that come through our eye/ear-gates with them.
We can talk all we want about our liberty in Christ, and think our faith makes us immune to all the media c-double-asterisk-p that we take in, but are we absolutely positive it has no corrosive effect on our faith?
I’m not talking the “reasonable doubt” standard that criminal juries follow. Sure, Mr. or Mrs. mature Christian, you know all the red-flags for ideological and spiritual propaganda coming through the idiot-box and the Internet, but do your kids? Come to think of it, are you sure you’re all that mature yourself?
Oh, don’t worry, I’m just blowing smoke here, as in eternal fire-type smoke. You may not loose your salvation because of some stupid entertainments, but what about your spiritual fire? What are the odds that if TV had existed in Bible times, that Revelation’s church at Laodicea would have been avid watchers? Does the word spew ring a fire alarm?