I was in a grocery store line many years ago and TV Guide’s cover advertised an article entitled, “Soap Operas Teach Biblical Morality.” I thought that was about the dumbest thing I’d ever heard. Soap Operas are all about prima donna drama, selfishness, fornication, adultery, lying, murder, cheating, greed, hatred, bitterness, personal revenge, smoldering resentment… These are the polar opposites of Biblical morality. I was so intrigued that I bought that issue of TV Guide, read the article, and by the end of it he had me convinced that indeed, soap operas teach Biblical morality.
Here’s his premise: the Bible teaches that selfishness, fornication, adultery, lying, murder, cheating, greed, hatred, bitterness, personal revenge, smoldering resentment will result in unhappy, unfulfilled, dissatisfied, discontented, uptight, overwrought people. What do we see on soap operas? Unhappy, unfulfilled, dissatisfied, discontented, uptight, overwrought people. Soap operas are a backhanded reinforcement of Biblical morality. It would not ring psychologically true, even in our jaded culture, to have a program where people murder, commit adultery, lie, steal, hate, covet, scheme, etc. who live happy, joy filled, worry free livourneytes.
Sandra Bullock can have out-of-wedlock sex on the movie screen and can glorify sex in all its forms, but when her husband committed adultery – she was gone. She can’t get away from the moral standard impressed upon her heart. When people choose to live outside the moral standard of our Creator, any happiness and joy they seem to have is a cosmetic that has to be put on before leaving home to mask the basic discontent of their lives.
J. Budziszewski, in the September 2003 issue of Touchstone magazine, helps us understand why this is so. In his article the furies of conscience, he lays out the way our conscience functions.
Conscience works in three different modes:
- Cautionary – alerts us to peril of moral wrong and generates an inhibition against committing it.
- Accusatory – indicts us for the wrong we have already done.
- Avenging – punishes the soul who does wrong but fails to heed the indictment.
Conscience is therefore teacher, judge, or executioner, depending on what mode it is working: cautionary, accusing, or avenging. It appears that the workings of conscience cannot be stopped – they can be ignored, but ignored at the peril of the one denying and hardening their conscience. The article in its fullness will go a long way in informing and equipping the pastor in understanding how even the pagan or the backsliding Christian cannot escape the reach of conscience. This will greatly aid you in counseling and preaching and understanding yourself. It can be found at http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-07-027-f
I was convinced, soap operas teach Biblical morality. They don’t preach against the vices that are portrayed, they demonstrate that those who live in these vices never experience the true joy of life and only find themselves broken again and again. As pastors, counselors, preachers, we can rest assured that a life of rebellion is an empty life, regardless of the smiles and the thrills that attend it. We can see through the smiling faces to the frowning hearts and present a Savior who can silence the Furies of Conscience.