Does Modern Entertainment Really Entertain?

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3

Our culture is submerged in entertainment. We are expected to consume various diversions meant to make us forget about our dreary, mundane and ordinary lives. At least, that’s what those who produce “entertainment” sell it to us as and would make us believe is the case about our own existence.

Yet, this intentional ridiculing of normal, daily living wasn’t always the case.

Consider Noah Webster’s definition of the term:

“The receiving and accommodating of guests, either with or without reward…The amusement, pleasure or instruction, derived from conversation, discourse, argument, oratory, music, dramatic performances, etc.; the pleasure which the mind receives from anything interesting, and which holds or arrests the attention. We often have rich entertainment in the conversation of a learned friend.”

Please note, dear reader, that the essence of entertainment, in the correct and traditional sense, are activities that provide an absolute benefit to man. Such activities edify while providing pleasure. This can only be accomplished by engaging in actions that lead to such gratifying enlightenment.

However, this is not what is meant by “entertainment” in the modern age. Contemporary amusement is designed to numb the mind, to isolate us from reality by assaulting it with falsehoods and to appeal to our baser instincts by glorifying debauchery. Furthermore, such moral deterioration occurs with ease due to the fact that most are continually “plugged-in”. The constantly connected earphones, ambient muzak in restaurants and stores, social media consumption, movies and 24-hour television programming provide our culture incessant perverted distractions all while impeding moral and intellectual growth.

Hence, it is no wonder that the youth and even adults in our society display the effects of immaturity. Since they don’t know what entertainment is and how to properly engage in it, they never mature.

For readers who wish to grow substantively, it will be necessary for them to distance themselves from modern entertainment, which we shall henceforth classify as passive entertainment, and embrace traditional entertainment, what we shall now call active entertainment.

Passive entertainment occurs when the intellect is arbitrarily turned off. The mind becomes a sort of depository for anything and everything, so long as the diversion is one that produces an emotional reaction. Think of it in the following manner: Why is it that the majority of people, when asked to read a passage (or read anything at all, for that matter) complain about the request by stating that reading is “boring”? In essence, they are informing you that they are not accustomed to being intellectually stimulated, but prefer to be emotionally stimulated. Therefore, for such people, television shows, movies, loud sounds and noises and anything else that proves to be scandalous is what they reach for in order to achieve a sentimental high.

This is the very thing that has been exploited by Satan and his minions in the modern era. Since the general populace prefers to feel rather than think, seditious and perverse messaging is subliminally placed within the content of TV programming, cinematographic works, music, advertising and the like so as to incline the people’s hearts and minds towards immorality. Since the mind is anesthetized by such entertainments, it cannot act as a filter to withhold dangerous ideas from entering the inner man.

Conversely, a much smaller group prefers rational stimulation or active entertainment. As most of these individuals have come to learn that the “heart is deceitful above all other things” and that maturity can only be obtained by actions that activate the mind by provoking deep thinking, they gravitate towards reading, conversation, debate, lectures, music that displays virtuosity and the like. There is much pleasure to be derived from such entertainment because the process lends itself to promoting maturity via examination resulting in prudent behavior.

However, it must be noted that the foundation of the education one can receive from such active entertainment must be rooted in Biblical principles. If one avoids using the Bible as the basis for knowledge and wisdom, the training to be found in the aforementioned entertainment can lead one to adopt concepts that are false, thereby contradicting true growth. Said entertainment poses as true knowledge but is, in fact, a deviation from it.

My advice to the reader is to assess an honest inventory of what kind of entertainment they regularly consume. There is a high possibility that if you consume popular forms of entertainment that your spiritual growth is stunted. If this is the case, turn off the television, stop watching so many movies, desist from binge watching Netflix, put down the smartphone and crack open the Bible, read a good book from a reputable author, talk with a person face to face instead of texting and listen intently to quality music in silence. The reader may just find that the spiritual maturity they’ve been desiring all along has been an “Off” switch away.

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