This article was written by G. J. Hyde and published in “The Witness”, April 1951. Section titles have been added by the assemblyHUB editors.
It is difficult to give an affirmative reply to this question, for the value of television depends upon the use to which it is put. We are living in a scientific age and there’s a temptation to follow its constant inventions. Whether we gain or lose by them is a matter for serious consideration.
Unfortunately they do not generally remain at a stage where they would be a public benefit but almost inevitably become a financial venture and are worked as a commercial enterprise. So long as this is the guiding principle we cannot derive the real advantage they might otherwise yield. Science is outpacing morality and spiritual thought, and to a large extent deadening religious influence.
Started with good intentions
The introduction of the Cinematography promised great things educationally, but we know how it was abused: the Cinema followed with much that is baneful. Television can be a benefit to old, infirm and sick people who, cannot leave their homes, and by its use they can be kept in touch with the outside world. . . . ;
Two questions necessarily arise in one’s mind concerning its general use. Firstly, it will not be confined to what is pure and wholesome, but will doubtless include items, the influence of which will tend to lower one’s moral standards.
Secondly, Christian people are often attracted to this form of entertainment, which entices them to neglect what is better. It is easy to drift into careless habits and overlook the more pressing claims of the Lord’s work.
Neglecting the Lord’s work
We are conscious that many sit comfortably by the fireside to listen to music and look at such pictorial displays, while Christian service is forgotten or ignored. When that spirit is allowed, coldness of heart and loss of spiritual power inevitably follow.
Agencies of all kinds that may be helpful under certain conditions should be used with strict reservation. The things of the Spirit should always have priority. It therefore becomes one of the questions that must be answered individually before the Lord.
If it is encroaching too much on our time and thought, so that the highest interests suffer, it is best to dispense with it, for many hours can be wasted in sheer amusement that could be spent more profitably. “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” is a divinely given guide. Decision thus arrived at will settle the difficulty.
Editorial Note: by posting this article assemblyHUB is not making statement either for or against the use of a television however the challenge as to what and how much is watched is important in 2016, 65 years after it was first published.