In Amusing Ourselves To Death, Neil Postman makes the case the televising certain things is inherently bad because of one simple thing: "If it's on TV, it's entertainment." Televised education makes children see learning as entertainment, and as a result, they have a hard time in school because it's not designed as entertainment. Death and violence are entertainment in all news stations, and as a result the general public grows numb to violent images and dialogue.
And this isn't necessarily the fault of the producers of the shows. They're just buying into a system where if you're involved in TV, you have to have your product be entertaining. That's just the way it is. I got the impression that Neil Postman wasn't making the case to throw out TV altogether, but just to keep the things that ought not to be entertainment off TV. I'm not sure if that was the case he was trying to make, that was my take on it. But in this post I want to focus on something more specific under the genus of things that aren't entertainment: The Bible.
Come on people. There's a show that can be found on The Game Show Network, called The American Bible Challenge, a trivia show that tests little-known knowledge of God's holy revelation to mankind.
To begin with, some people probably support this show with the argument, "But having the Bible proclaimed in public in any way is a good thing, you heathen!" Not true. Having the Holy Word of God under the "Entertainment" label will give every new Christian and non-believer totally the wrong impression about it. Should the word of the triune, infinite, and omnipotent God really be on the same level with Newlywed Game, High Stakes Poker, and Love Triangle?
Proclaiming the Bible with, "How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you..", is just a little different from, "Now you can play the game on Facebook, Android, and iPhone!"
"Well at least it gets people to look in their Bibles..." Sure. And I'm sure that because of this trivia show they'll undoubtedly be looking in their Bibles for undeniable truths, guidance, and wisdom from the Lord! If they read their Bibles at all because of this show it will only be in the light of entertainment, about on the same level with a quick Google search for how many babies a given actress had in one year. That's totally the way Christians should want people to think about the Bible.
In the light of unbelievers, who might join Christianity because of this show (supposing that there are any) they'll probably only come with the mindset of "I'm becoming a Christian because it's fun!".... Do I even need to go into detail about why that's bad? (Seriously though, if I do then just comment.)
And one more thing: They had a team called "Team Victorious Secret". No comment, no comment at all: moving on.
So I'm condemning The American Bible Challenge, not because it's someone in public talking about the Bible, or because knowing things about the Bible isn't good, but because as it presents the Bible wrong way, and in doing so, puts it on the same level as that which is empty, shallow, and dramatically-disguised. And I can't even talk about Christian quality, tele-pastors, cuteness in Christianity, or the whole concept behind "Tebowing". Those are discussions for other posts. ;)