Should we abstain from the Internet and TV?


The congregation where I attend was discussing the book of Joshua the other day. We were talking about the conquest of the promised lands. While the Israelites conquered the land, they did not destroy all like they were told to do. Later these people that were not destroyed about every 20 years came back to wage war. The Book of Judges is about a lot of these battles.

The conversation led to a discussion of the Internet and TV. While there can be some good coming out of those mediums, I wonder when being close to sin is too close. I might be wrong but the Bible does not say drinking alcohol is a sin but getting drunk is sinful. The way I understand it is that we are not sober-minded. I asked the question: if you are drinking, when do you know you are not sober-minded? I contend for most you cannot know and that is why we should abstain from alcohol.

I contend this is the same for the Internet and TV.  With all the filth and avenues for delivering it, we should abstain from it to keep our minds sober.  However, the congregation made all kinds of defenses for using the TV and Internet.

What are your thoughts?



I find it ironic that you are using the Internet to ask me if the Internet should be used.

We avoid alcohol because it impairs judgment. "It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink, for they will drink and forget what is decreed, and pervert the rights of all the afflicted" (Proverbs 31:4-5). Thus, the problem is not that alcohol influences people to sin but that those under the influence of alcohol tend to make poor choices and, thus, sin. This effect is known to happen from the first drink. See Sober-Minded in Every Sense of the Term.

The Israelites sinned by neglecting to accomplish a direct command of God. "Know therefore today that it is the LORD your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the LORD has spoken to you. Do not say in your heart when the LORD your God has driven them out before you, 'Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,' but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is dispossessing them before you" (Deuteronomy 9:3-4). God did warn Israel not to follow after the sins of these people because what led to their destruction would also lead to Israel's destruction. "When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?' You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it" (Deuteronomy 12:29-32). Because they failed to fulfill God's command to dispossess the sinning nations, those people eventually influenced Israel into sinning in similar ways.

The point we should note is that the world is caught up in sin and those sins can influence us. "Do not be deceived: 'Bad company corrupts good morals.' Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame" (I Corinthians 15:33-34). The problem of bad influence existed long before television and the Internet. In truth, the content of television and the Internet merely reflects what is going on in society. While it would be nice to isolate ourselves from these influences, we cannot do so and accomplish the teaching of God's word to the world. "I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world" (I Corinthians 5:9-10).

Knowing the danger, we do battle. Many of us are using various mediums (newspapers, radio, television, and the Internet) to teach the gospel to a lost and dying world. We are letting our lights shine by using the means available to us. "Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain" (Philippians 2:14-16).

Too often, we blame things when the real problem is the sin in people's lives. People blame guns for murder when the real problem is the hatred people have (I John 3:15). We can make the same mistake in blaming the Internet when the real problem is people's desire for sinful things.

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