Our Judgment-Driven Culture and the Schizophrenic Quest for Reality
It was 1948 when the first reality show called Candid Camera debuted on television which attracted scores of people with pulling pranks on unsuspecting people and their subsequent reactions. Since then, the phenomena of reality shows has ballooned over the last decade. One list reveals that there have been at least 317 reality shows since Candid Camera including the likes of Cops which is currently into its 19th season. According to Amazon.com,
After having watched a couple of these reality shows, I reflected on what this all this is saying about our culture (and me). More and more, reality shows are consisting of three judges who will judge a person’s performance whether it be comedy, singing, dance, modeling. Of course, these judges are penultimate as the final authority of these candidates weigh in the balance of the judgment of the American people. In almost all and every area of life, we have only to call an 800 number or text a couple of digits to cast our vote or place our judgment upon those participating in the reality show.
This has intrigued me since we are told that we live in an age where it is politically incorrect to judge anyone. It has been said that while our elder generation’s favorite verse is John 3:16, which has been replaced with the often misquoted and misinterpreted verse Matthew 7:1 which says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” As our culture has become increasingly pluralistic, it is said that a Christian is immoral, arrogant, and bigoted to say that those who do not believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord will go to hell. I am told that I cannot judge those people who want to believe something else. It appears that our culture and its thinkers have decided to judge the areas in which we are allowed to place judgment—all areas except matters of ultimate reality and absolute truth. In the areas that don’t really matter, it is a judgment free-for-all, but in the weightier matters of life, we are told that we are to keep our opinions to ourselves. Furthermore, while we are all too quick to dial that number to judge another person, we would not dare to allow anyone to judge us—including ourselves.
Yet there is a judgment upon us whether we realize it or not. Jesus Himself said, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil” (John ). And the writer of Hebrews reminds us that “it is appointed for man to die once and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews ). The Holy Spirit has come to convict us of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11), and ultimately there will be a judgment by the eternal and just Judge at the judgment seat of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgment. And lest we forget, our God is a judging God as the Father (John ), the Son (John ,27,29-30) and the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-11) all participate in judgment.
There is no greater reality than the judgment of God, but we are told that we are not allowed to speak of such reality. Our culture, having been jaded by the fictional drama of melodramatic script, has actively been in pursuit of reality through the tube while at the same time disallowing anyone to judge them as a sinner and the reality of God's justice and holiness. This schizophrenic quest of reality is a journey in a real-life fairy tale where the ending is worse than being booted off a reality television show. It is being cast into an eternal hell where sinners will be tormented for an eternity. The “American Idol” is not
About 2000 years ago there was a reality show in
Not much is different these days as the judgment-driven culture of the 1st century is much like that of the 21st century. The same question is being asked today, “What is your judgment?” on almost a daily basis. And while we mourn over our favorite singer, dancer, or comedian being booted off some television show where they hoped to win a million dollars, we have failed to mourn over lost souls who are being booted straight to hell for an eternity without any hope of heaven or the reward of knowing Jesus. More than that, while we are competent to place judgment on reality shows, we have succumbed to the pressure of a schizophrenic culture as incompetent Christians to place judgment on sinners in the greatest realities of life, truth, and salvation. Christian friend, we who deserve death and judgment and who have received life abundant in Christ should be faithful and true in a confused and confounded culture to show that the end of their quest for reality is not in the television tube but in the cross of Jesus Christ.