I’ll preface this by saying… I’m no theologian, far from it actually, but I AM a Christian and I do watch reality TV… Well, some of it anyway. So naturally, I have some thoughts on the the topic.
Is reality TV bad for Christians? Is TV in general bad for Christians?
First of all, reality TV isn’t all trash TV as some might incorrectly believe. There are many different genres of reality TV, including:
- Competition shows like Survivor, American Ninja Warrior, Amazing Race, Big Brother, etc.
- Talent shows, including singing, dancing, comedy, and all manner of unusual/entertaining talents like Little Big Shots, The Voice, America’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With The Stars, Showtime At The Apollo, etc.
- Relationship and dating (or not) shows like Love Connection, Catfish, Married At First Sight, Bridezillas, Marriage Bootcamp, It Takes A Church, Match Made In Heaven, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, etc.
- Lifestyle shows like the entire Real Housewives franchise (RHOA, RHOBH, RHONY, RHOP, RHOC, and RHONJ… Phew… If I forgot any city, please forgive me BravoTV!!), Braxton Family Values, House Hunters, Fixer Upper (the one all good Christians watch), Southern Charm, etc.
- Cooking shows like Hell’s Kitchen, Master Chef Jr., Iron Chef, etc.
- Business shows like Shark Tank, The Profit, etc.
- Game shows like Family Feud, Wheel Of Fortune, etc.
- Courtroom shows like Judge Judy, The People’s Court, Judge Mathis, etc.
And many many more…
As you can probably infer, I know my reality TV quite well… And there’s a lot of it that I do like.
Yes, some of these shows are more “edifying” than others but that’s the same with scripted shows as well. So should Christians indulge in them or not?
Well, the ultimate question we should we be asking and answering is “Is what I am watching ultimately resulting in me glorifying God?” If it is, great… If it isn’t then what’s the right thing for me to do?
I won’t hypocritical though and try to make it seem that I always ask myself this when I cozy up to watch one of my favorite shows… I don’t. Not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t always think to…
The thought typically doesn’t occur to me until a particular show I am watching wanders into territory that causes a check in my spirit and THEN I ask… “Hmm… Should I still be watching this…?”
Yes, it is more of a reactionary thing than a proactive thing. At least, for me it is most times.
So my summary answer to this question is that there are some good ones and there are some not-so-good ones. If your conscience prompts you not to watch a particular show then ask yourself if you need to continue watching it or not.
I’ll admit, I don’t always do the right thing. I try to, but I sometimes fail. I may be enjoying a particular show and not stop when I know or think I really should. I’ll feel bad afterwards and then promise to do better next time, and I do try.
And other times, I do do the right thing… Victory over the flesh… Yay!
One of my favorite parts of watching the shows I love is that most, if not all, of them have watching communities where one can give input, play along or in one form or another obsess over every little detail of what we watch.
If you care to hear my thoughts on these, which can sometimes amount to insignificant minutiae to those outside the viewing circle, they’ll be in my Guilty Pleasures section.