April 2012 - Vol. 59..

A Great Distraction
by Michael Shaughnessy

The main goal of the devil is not to get you to do the wrong thing. It is to get you to do anything but the right thing. He didn't care which false god Israel worshiped. Any would do, as long as it distracted them from the true God.

The world provides the devil with more options than ever to distract us. When bombarded with the spectacular, who pays attention to the dull? The news in your neighborhood is reality. It's just not as eyecatching as a tsunami in Taiwan or a hurricane in Haiti or a bomb in Belfast. Prayer, Bible reading, and helping your neighbor don't hold a candle to wildfires threatening celebrity homes in Hollywood.

The media compete to hold our attention and the devil doesn't care who wins: Baal, the internet, texting or Ashtaroth.

Television eye candy is addictive. It grabs your eyeball and won't let go. The world doesn't need to ban books, good works, family, or church, it just displaces them with non-stop distractions for the eye and ear. We trade fulfillment for fillfullment.

Watch any movie trailer and count the number of shot changes you see in 30 seconds. 

We have probably reached the floor. Visual media at this pace creates brain stupor. Retaining information becomes nearly impossible. 

Being careful about what you watch is important, but being careful how much you watch is at least as important. A drug-induced stupor may be more dangerous than one induced by television or online surfing, but a stupor is a stupor, and these days Americans are choosing for more stupor than ever.

For youth to choose the right thing they must learn to control the nonstop stimuli and constant sources of distraction. That's life in the modern world.

Mike Shaughnessy is an elder in The Servants of the Word and the Director of Kairos in North America. Kairos is an international federation of outreaches to high school, university and post university aged people. This article was first published in the May 2011 Issue of the Kairos North American Youth Culture Newsletter..
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