time coverTIME Magazine–reliable newsweekly or trojan horse for ungodly values? Well, both actually. In a rapidly shrinking world, TIME, and other weeklies like NEWSWEEK and ECONOMIST provide well written articles and editorials that help one understand the world.

But look between the pages. They are often filled with advertisements that push a blatant sexism. Or an unrestrained consumer materialism that is eating up the world’s resources, and perpetuating the beliefs that the good life consists of possessions and experiences open only to that small percentage of humanity that can afford them.

Look between the lines. Key editorials presuppose a pragmatism that does not respect any absolutes. ‘What is wrong with producing embryos so that we can harvest them to produce parts that can help cure certain diseases?’ The ends justify the means. Human life is just another commodity to be traded and used if the ends are helpful.

Read between the lines. Humankind’s salvation is to be found in scientific advancement/the free market/democracy/etc. Who needs God?

So–is TIME magazine a helpful newsweekly or a trojan horse for ungodly values? Both. But there will probably never be a book that highlights the dangers of TIME magazine.

Instead, we are flooded with books like: Harry Potter and the Bible, Harmless Fantasy or Dangerous Fascination?

The title alone disturbs. It suggests a simplistic either or. But life in a fallen world will always contain parts of heaven and hell. Therefore our spiritual and moral sensors must be on auto protect, on all the time.

Indeed, I suspect we have less to fear from the more sensational elements of the popular media that are supposedly morally and spiritually dangerous. Satan always does his best work hidden. He is the master of the insidious. Therefore, instead of dividing the world neatly into safe and dangerous categories, we should follow the injunctions of 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22:

“…test everything; hold fast to what is good;
abstain from every form of evil.” NRSV

Of course we need to decide for ourselves and for our loved ones, what things are completely off limits. But if we are to be in the world though not of it, we also need to cultivate a robust discernment as we live our lives this side of heaven.

I am looking forward to seeing the Harry Potter movie with my older son. (The trailers look very promising!) I also look forward to good discussions with him as to what aspects of the movie are on the side of the angels and what aspects of the movie are on the side of the devils.

I figure I won’t always be around to be his moral censor. He is already 15. It won’t be long before he enters fully into a dangerous world where evil often lurks in the most unexpected places. Might as well let him know now that his God will guide him, through the Word, and a Spirit renewed mind. Might as well show him how.