In order to better understand various beliefs across the world and the involvement that society has in the construction of these beliefs, analyzing and interpreting secular media is important for Christians in a modern setting. As time advances and technology adapts, there is a larger precedence placed on media forms such as television. While it can be said that these forms have the capacity to inform and educate, there is a tremendous amount of knowledge that can be gained from different forms of literature. As a result, it is important to understand the prominence that literature can have in helping individuals construct a more developed view of the world and, in turn, a more thorough and complex understanding of those around them and of other beliefs.
One of the principle differences between media forms such as television and literature is the level of involvement that the viewer has with the media and its message. Lesson 2 of the class module discusses this notion heavily, stating that television is continuously accessible “perhaps without overt awareness.” Given that televised media and clips from television shows are immediately able to be accessed by users across the globe, there is bit of reticent truth in this statement. The information that is in television is also presented directly to the viewer in a way that doesn’t require much active engagement on their behalf or willingness to step outside of their approach to the media to see more or understand more of it. In turn, the engagement factor that is present with television and media such as this is significantly lowered due to the fact that there is little to no requirement for the viewer to participate or in the very least, comprehend what is being presented to them.
This is much different than reading, in the sense that reading requires a higher level of mental interaction from the reader. The reader has to analyze and process what they are reading more to create a mental picture about what they are processing. While it can be said that reading requires the reader to make a more developed mental picture on their own accord, television essentially does this for the viewer from the on-set. The lesson goes on to state that television throws a myriad of “’sound bites’ and ‘picture bites’” at the audience. It is significantly easier to watch television than it is to read, and due to its nature, there is less engagement than what a good book or story can afford. As a result, it is essentially useless for the mind’s faculties and the development of a higher sense of understanding of the world.
The Bible clearly states that the minds and bodies that we possess belong to God, and that we should in turn honor God with our bodies, and by extensions, our minds. Thus, it is crucial for us to understand that our minds are meant to be cultivated and managed in a way which can allow for us to better serve God and the will that he beckons of us. One way for us to strength our bodies is to strengthen our minds. Furthermore, to further our relationship with God, it is instrumental to understand the world that He has constructed and our place in this world. The only way to adequately understand the world is to read and deduce the importance of different aspects of the world and the universe at large. The reading of secular literature and the dedication to better understanding the purpose of the literature itself will help a Christian to cultivate their own knowledge of the world and of God. Furthermore, it will provide Christians with the capacity to deduce the nature of the world as seen by those who live in it, and in turn, can broaden the horizons of one’s perceptions.