So I have been asked to elaborate further on this problem I see in Christian circles (and more notably in culture) of anti-intellectualism. First of all it is important to note that the person writing this can only check the box “some college completed” when filling out any applicable forms. So I hope it is clear that I am not inferring higher intelligence. The crux of my point is really about what we put into our minds and what we spend time entertaining ourselves with.
Recently I had a parent talk to me about how his son loves the show Family Guy and he has concerns because he doesn’t really agree with the messages in the show. I understood and told him that he should probably watch the show with his son and ask him questions about the show afterward. Questions like: What world view was that communicating? And then discuss what was being said and done and how it relates to Biblical principles. He seemed to like the idea and thought that it would be good to use Family Guy as a way to engage in discussion instead of just saying “that’s bad, turn it off.”
If this sort of approach is taken then all sorts of shows that offer little value like Family Guy (the first couple of seasons were good) become useful. It’s important for us as Christians to sort out the sock drawer of culture and find those matching pairs. But what pains me is that this approach is so often not taken. Instead of putting all the like socks together we end up throwing out all the stuff we don’t like simply because we don’t know what to do with it. This is one side to this problem of course. There is a certain type of turning off ones brain that leads to disregarding all forms of “this” and the other off switch is more like leaving it in the on position. Chesterton once said “There is a thought that stops thought. That is the only thought that ought to be stopped.”
So we have the ultra conservative way of non-thinking which is to say “everything that I don’t understand is wrong.” And the ultra liberal way of non-thinking which is more akin to the video game glaze face.
This brings us to reality television.
There are many forms of reality television and I find all of them repulsive in varying degrees. Reality TV is like taking a nice steak and burning the hell out of it until you are left with a hockey puck, and that is the rarest you can get it.
My point is this, people don’t watch reality television to think, quite the opposite actually. It’s true that most television is “mind-numbing” but I don’t think that we should seek out that sort of thing. One of atheists biggest criticism of Christians is that faith is an off position for thinking and the perception is that those Duck Dynasty guys are leaning on the switch.