One only has to turn on the television to become inundated with unacceptable materials. Things which children especially should not see, nor are they fit to be watched by adults. It is impossible to turn the set on to search for some suitable materials (news, weather, educational, etc) without being exposed to vile and explicit sexual scenes, homosexual advertisements, filthy language and gory criminal activities.
When the internet was introduced, there was a short, faint period of hope that entertaining and educational sites as well as important religious information would be available without the ugly and despicable things which had invaded the television. But this didn’t develop. Instead even more beastly pornographic sites learned to send spam mail with extremely repulsive porn photos. Thankfully, the government or whoever wields some control, developed means to stop much of that spam. This writer can recall when I turned my computer on each morning, I might have a couple of hundred emails, all but four or five were spam. Some disgusting, all unwanted.
But, even now, as with the television, if you attempt to browse the internet in researching articles, we see advertisements with women and men wearing only a few items which remind one of postage stamps. And we read of outrageous activities such as sexual or homosexual incidents among our high elected officials, famous men in large businesses, even of which our policemen and governmental law enforcement people are guilty, plus crimes of other types by those supposedly honest men with integrity.
The only thing that keeps one from throwing up their hands and quitting, is that there are also many who do not do these sorry and inexcusable things. And also, the knowledge that our God requests that we avoid participation in those things.
Areas of entertainment seem to be the spots chosen by numerous evil and uncouth people to exploit their nauseating acts. And it did not start with television and/or the internet. Let us look at a few writings of the ancient Christians with their exposure to such problems.
Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius, an early Christian writer who lived from 260 to 330 AD. Lactantius who became an advisor to Constantine 1, the first Christian emperor of the Romans, wrote the following lament which sounds amazingly as that of today:
“I am inclined to think that the corrupting influence of the stage is even worse [than that of the arena]. The subjects of comedies are the deflowering of virgins or the loves of prostitutes…. Similarly, the tragedies parade before the eyes [of the audience] the murder of parents and acts of incest committed by wicked kings…. Is the art of the mimes any better? They teach adultery by acting it out. How do we expect our young people to respond when they see that these things are practiced without shame and that everyone eagerly watches.” (Lactantius Institutes bk. 6, chap. 20, paraphrased) (Interactive Bible)
And another also by Lactantius:
“He who finds it pleasurable to watch a man being killed, even though the man has been legally condemned, pollutes his conscience just as much as though he were an accomplice or willing spectator of a murder committed in secret. Yet they call these ‘sports’-where human blood is shed! … When they see men placed under the stroke of death. begging for mercy, can they be righteous when they not only permit the men to be killed, but demand it? They cast their cruel and inhuman votes for death, not being satisfied by the mere flowing of blood or the presence of gashing wounds. In fact, they order the [gladiators] -although wounded and lying on the ground-to be attacked again and their corpses to be pummeled with blows, to make certain they are not merely feigning death. The crowds are even angry with the gladiators if one of the two isn’t slain quickly. As though they thirsted for human blood, they hate delays…. By steeping themselves in this practice, they have lost their humanity…. Therefore, it is not fitting that we who strive to stay on the path of righteousness should share in this public homicide. When God forbids us to kill, he not only prohibits the violence that is condemned by public laws, but he also forbids the violence that is deemed lawful by men. (Lactantius Institutes bk. 6, chap. 20, paraphrased) (Ibid)
Another example, this one by Tertullian (Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus) also an early Christian writer who lived from about 160 to about 225 AD. Here is his quote:
“The father who carefully protects and guards his virgin daughter’s ears from every polluting word takes her to the theater himself, exposing her to all its vile language and attitudes.” He asked rhetorically, “How can it be right to look at the things that are wrong to do? How can those things which defile a man when they go out of his mouth not defile him when going in through his eyes and ears?” (Matt. 15: 1720). (Tertullian The Shows chaps. 21, 17) (Ibid)
So, we can see that there were those even in the very early years of the Christian church who witnessed the same shameful conduct as is rampant today. One difference it seems however, those who perform those types of evil and sinful acts today are glorified and encouraged to do more by the masses, rather than being reprimanded.
There were many in the early years of settlement of the United States, who felt much as those ancient authors above felt. Those of us who have lived from the 1930’s through the 1950’s can recall those things. Women wore clothing without revealing their bodies and yet were more beautiful than those we see today in string bikinis. A girl, or lady would blush and be very embarrassed if she discovered her slip was showing a tiny bit below the hem of her dress.
Explicit sexual conversation was never conducted in front of the opposite gender. Girls had self respect and men also held them in high respect. Even through the 1950’s it was almost unheard of to find a couple living together without benefit of marriage. And when a couple was discovered to be so, they were considered lower class. After seven years together, they were considered to have a “common law marriage”.
Younger people today will no doubt let out a guffaw concerning such things, but the lives were much more in line with the teachings of the Bible than what we are seeing today. May God have mercy on our souls.
Other sources: Wikipedia