What Do John Wayne
and Lost in Space Have in Common?
by Phil Boatwright

When I was a boy, I saw some horror movie that gave me nightmares, leaving me scared of the dark for months. It was so bad I’d cover my head with the blanket at night. At the time, my family lived in Illinois, which could become quite warm in the summer, even late at night. So, there I’d be, on a hot, muggy summer’s night, cocooned in a thick blanket, with only a small opening to allow for air. Already a fan of John Wayne, I was ashamed of myself for not living up to his code. Then during an episode of Lost in Space, a TV series in the mid-1960s not to be missed by young boys, I saw the show’s young protagonist, Will Robinson, my age, asleep on our black & white TV screen, and without a head covering. That did it. The brave examples of a movie star and a kid on TV helped me conquer the demon of the dark. (‘Course, it was a movie that got me messed up to begin with.)

Why the self-revelation?

For me, the motion picture is the essence of all the other art forms, but along with the influence of the boob tube, these two mediums have dwarfed other artistic endeavors as the dominant form for fashioning our cultural surroundings. Indeed, television and the cinema are now so ensconced in our society it’s difficult to escape their input, even if you don’t watch them. They affect us, often more than we will admit.

The most endearing films, and the exceptional TV program, can nourish the spirit as well as entertain. The artistic impact of a film such as It’s A Wonderful Life, The Tree of Life, or The Passion of the Christ can linger on, reminding us that there is more to the human makeup than just the mental and physical. Alas, there is that darker side to the world of drama/comedy/fantasy. Depending on the filmmaker’s intent, they can attack our subconscious or lead us away from God’s purpose.

Some of the most powerful tools Satan has at his disposal are those found in the field of media, for they can be used to mislead and corrupt the mind and soul of mankind.

Whether individual films have a detrimental effect on audiences has yet to be irrefutably proven, but it doesn't take a gaggle of psychologists to see that nonstop exploitive sexual images and brutal violence does exacerbate destructive behavior. As entertainment commentator Michael Medved stated a few years back in his provocative and insightful book “Hollywood Vs. America: Popular Culture and the War on Traditional Values” (Harper Collins/Zondervan, page 243), “The most profound problem with the popular culture isn't its immediate impact on a few vulnerable and explosive individuals, but its long-term effect on all the rest of us. The deepest concerns about Hollywood go beyond the industry's role in provoking a handful of specific crimes and involve its contribution to a general climate of violence and self-indulgence.”

Movies and television shows have man’s imprint all over them. The Bible, on the other hand, has God’s. So, it’s up to us whether we are going to be led by secular storytellers, or guided onto our Heavenly Father’s paths. So, in these uncertain times, perhaps the ending times, we need to READ THE BOOK.

To discern the media’s misconceptions and misdirections, we must be grounded in scriptural teaching. Along with guidance from thoughtful theologians who study the social and political landscape, we gain communal foresight by personally studying Scripture. The Bible is a guidepost for living a lifestyle that keeps us in harmony with the Heavenly Father and with our fellow man. And if we read God’s Word, embrace it, and live by it, we’ll never have to be afraid of the dark.