Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Enlightened Values

How does the media communicate values? Is it possible to really understand the intent or motive of the filmmaker? What do we need to do in order to understand the impact media has on our behavior and attitudes? Without a personal value system, it is impossible to evaluate media. As a result, we are a reflection of what we see and hear in the media. Media messages become nothing more than images and sounds. We are like sponges, absorbing everything we see and hear without the ability to understand its meaning and purpose.

What is required is an inner vision. Mathew 6:22-23 states, “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. And if the light you think you have is full of darkness, how deep that darkness is. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness." NLT Jesus uses the metaphors of the eye and the lamp to convey the significance of the proper ordering of values in life. Biblical values will help us to develop a discriminating inner vision.

What are values? They are qualities or principles thought to be intrinsically worthwhile or desirable by individuals or society as a whole. We cherish them and hold them in high esteem. We work to attain them. They give direction to our lives. What kind of values do the media promote? And what kind of values are found in the Gospel? The media and the Gospel offer values that are in stark contrast to each other. For example, immediacy vs. patience, youth vs. dignity to all, newness vs. tradition, bigness vs. smallness, wealth vs. poverty of spirit, success vs. fruitfulness, glamour vs. ordinariness, consumerism vs. conservation, disposability vs. cherishability, ability to conquer nature vs. respect for nature, complexity vs. simplicity and constant activity vs. contemplation. As you can see, there are two different value systems at work. Which one you choose will define how you see the world.

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