Arts & Culture

Finding God in the Media

The transition from high school to college holds many changes such as moving, intensifying studies, and overall starting a new chapter of your life. The most important aspect of our lives is one that should not change: our belief in Christ. However, with an almost entirely secular media network surrounding us, it can be difficult to find any connections to God besides the faith that lives in our own hearts. This is especially the case if you are not planning to attend a Christian university.

While the media is secular, show creators typically do not want to make fun of anyone’s deities. The NBC life-after-death comedy The Good Place even begins its first episode explaining that every religion was only correct about a small percentage of what the actual, nondenominational afterlife portrayed in the show is like. However, shows typically don’t go out of their way to show religion unless it is a part of the major plot of the show. God’s Not Dead, Heaven is for Real, the incredibly Catholic Jane the Virgin, and the new CBS sitcom Living Biblically come to mind as far as Christian-based media is concerned. It is very exciting to see these pieces of fully Christian entertainment surface.

 Living Biblically promotional poster

However, every piece of media is not entirely religious or entirely secular. Oftentimes Christian characters are written and portrayed unrealistically in the media, but when it is done correctly, it is very exciting to see and connect with a character in that way. For example, Dr. April Kepner of Grey’s Anatomy is a devout Christian who has struggled with her faith in many ways; in her first struggle in her time on the show, she had to come to terms with her now-ex husband’s atheism.

Dr. April Kepner, portrayed by Sarah Drew.

 Religious discernment is an important tool we can use in order to not lose sight of Christ in our lives. Discernment simply means “the ability to judge well.” This is important in entertainment because so much of what we are exposed to is junk with some degree of vulgarity, violence, and explicit situations and languages. It is important to look at secular media and ask ourselves things such as “is this appropriate for my age and maturity level?” and “does this show or movie glorify Him?” If the answer is no to either of these, it is up to us to find an alternative. In a life without discernment, it is incredibly easy to be caught up in the relentless waves of garbage our society constantly throws at us.

In conclusion, it can be easy to lose God when we are immersing ourselves in a new environment, but that makes it all the more important to practice discernment. God calls us to love all the people of the world; thus, we should treat secular programming and programs that are centered on other religions with nothing but respect. While it would be incredible to live in a world where everyone adored God and spent their time making entertainment that glorifies Him, we live in an imperfect world. This is all the more reason, though, for us to practice discernment in what we watch and read.

For the graduating seniors: Congratulations! I hope that God leads you through a successful college experience and a prosperous life after that. May He bless your every move as you work to bring glory to Him.

Sources:

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/28/arts/television/greenleaf-oprah-winfrey-transparent-the-path.html
  2. https://www.christianitytoday.com/biblestudies/articles/spiritualformation/graduatingchristian.html?start=2
  3. https://coauthoryourlifewithgod.com/2015/09/12/media-as-discernment-opportunity/

All images are from Google unless otherwise noted.

5 Comments

  1. Unfortunately, “Heaven For Real” was discovered to be a false story I think . . . the author of the original book (made into a movie) confessed to lying about the whole thing, and he and his wife got divorced. It was so sad. =/

    • *I meant “Heaven Is For Real”

      • Okay so after doing some research, I don’t quite remember if the creator of this movie actually got divorced–several people told me that a few years ago. I’ll have to look into this situation more, but I do know that the story behind the book is probably not true.

    • Cassie Disharoon

      Wow! I had no idea. It’s very sad to hear that the inspiring story was made up, most likely for publicity or 15 seconds of fame. Thank you for your insight, Theresa!

      • Yeah it’s kinda sad . . . I have always had mixed feelings about such inspiring stories idk. I guess we just need to be a bit more cautious and discerning about these things.