2011 Top 5 – #4: #189 – Christian TV


This post led to some good discussion about the gray areas in which Christians live. The Bible is clear on a lot of things but not what is and isn’t acceptable TV. I’m still watching The Office, Community, Parks and Recreation and Modern Family. Even after a full fall of watching those shows, I’ve still managed to love Jesus.

A few weeks ago in his sermon, my pastor admitted to watching Modern Family. By the way he defended himself it’s like he had just admitted to watching Cinemax after 10:00pm. Should pastors or any Christian apologize for watching Modern Family or other similar television shows?

There’s a lot of TV that isn’t edifying to the soul. True Blood with its rampant sexuality and disturbing violence should probably make the list of shows Christians shouldn’t watch. But I certainly hope that there are more shows on the list of programs Christians can watch than The 700 Club, televised showings of Fireproof and Matlock.

I watch a lot of TV shows on a regular basis: Modern FamilyCommunityThe Office30 Rock and Parks and Recreation. All of those shows have themes and plot points that don’t always line up with Biblical standards.

On The Office Jim and Pam had sex before they were married.

On Community Shirley exhibits intolerance for religions other than Christianity.

On Modern Family there is a gay couple.

On 30 Rock anything Tracy Jordan does.

I watch these shows with a clear conscience every week. I laugh while I’m watching the shows and I laugh again when discussing them with my friends.

Some shows may cause people to stumble into sin. True Blood would probably cause me to lust, so I choose to avoid it. Jersey Shore would probably cause me to get angry and hurt something, so I choose to avoid it. Some shows, though, are sin neutral and that mostly has to do with the viewer.

Paul says that we have freedom in Christ to do what we want as long as our freedom doesn’t cause another brother or sister to stumble. We have freedom to watch whatever TV shows we want as long as they don’t cause another brother or sister, including ourselves, to stumble.

If laughter is a sin, though, then I might have to stop watching Community and start watching Two and a Half Men.

How do you choose what televisions shows to watch?


2 comments on “2011 Top 5 – #4: #189 – Christian TV”

  1. Quite honestly, how a show might impact my faith is never a number one priority when I choose what to watch. I choose based on the same criteria everyone else does: does this sound interesting? And if I decide to keep watching, it’s based on whether or not the show entertains me.

    That said, I am usually pretty quick to bring my faith to bear on what I watch. Sometimes, there’s no friction; sometimes, there is. If I find something so devoid of anything noble, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise — all those virtues Paul commends to us in Philippians 4 — than I let it drop. But I can usually find grist for my theological mill even in “darker” fare like the recent “Battlestar Galactica” or “The Walking Dead.” I don’t think Christians have to be afraid of fiction, and I appreciate fiction that is willing to raise big issues and deal with them honestly. Even if I disagree with where shows go on a given issue, they remind me that Christians should be no less honest when tackling these topics.

    I think Christians should frankly be far more leery of reality shows (so called) than anything fictional. Very few of them seem to celebrate what’s best about humanity; they all seem to appeal to our basest (let alone fallen) instincts. I do hear good things about “The Amazing Race” in that regard; and I thought the first two years of “American Idol” were at least a positive celebration of talent (the only troublesome idea being the way we’ve made sport of the concept of “idol.”)

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