Written by: Rev. Nathan Hill
The medium is the message—an iconic phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian philosopher from the 20th century who died just one year before I was born. Though debated, the premise has held true in many occasions. Indeed, the medium of communication does have an impact on the message portrayed in that communication, and I think that our North American culture of popular television and movies (i.e., a medium) have trivialized and even cartoonized—if I can coin that term—our experience with spirituality.
You probably think that I am going to slam popular television and movies for the way that they portray Christianity—but I am not. Rather, I am talking about the innocuous way that popular television and movies portray the occult and dark spirituality in such a way that lulls us to sleep in a very real hotbed of destruction. The practice and presence of the occult and dark spirituality (i.e., anything that masquerades as spirituality without any connection to Christ) within our ‘entertainment’ has convinced us that the demonic is not dangerous, occult practices (i.e. séances and ouija boards) are great Saturday night fun for you and your friends, and that the whole thing is a little too sensational to have any real impact on our natural lives. After all, most things on television are more dramatic than real life, right?
I am not going to name any particular programs or movies because I do not consider myself an authority on media and because I do not want to point a finger at just one or another. But mark my words (and just stop and think for a moment)—what I am saying is not far from the mark. When we forget that the battle is not against flesh and blood but against dark spiritual forces, when we trivialize the very threat dark spirituality has in our souls, and when we open ourselves to engaging in such practices as a form of entertainment—even as a passive observer—I personally have great concerns.
Mandy and I have just finished watching a particular television series that we thoroughly enjoyed—we watched the entire series in about two months, if that tells you anything. Yet, within this series there were several scenes where the characters were half-heartedly attempting to use a ouija board to communicate with an individual who had died in the previous season. My practice as of the past few years is that I do not even passively observe practices that attempt to invite or communicate via channels of dark spirituality, and so we fast forwarded through those scenes and have never watched them to this day. This is a practice that we uphold with all media that we consume, and if it is central to the plot we just do not consider it a suitable form of entertainment.
Scripture warns of the dangers of those who had become tied to demons. The gospel writer Mark tells us that one demon-possessed individual would throw himself into fires and cut himself with sharp stones…destroying the very pinnacle of God’s creation (i.e., humanity) and wrecking and destiny that individual could have. Yet such destructive spiritual forces have deceitfully found their way into popular entertainment where they can masquerade as a benign pastime that has no adverse impact on an individual’s spiritual, emotional, or physical wellbeing after the fact.
That is a lie.
Guard your heart, and protect your spirit. Satan is called the deceiver, and our North American culture is in many ways taking the bait. The repercussions on our soul will be intense and destructive. Its time again to put on the spiritual amour (Ephesians 6), and to battle against the unseen dark forces that are still present and are as destructive as ever, and it begins with a reminder that this is real, it is dangerous, but Christ has overcome.
John 10:10 “The thief comes to seal, to kill, and to destroy. [Jesus has] come to give life, and to give it abundantly.”