Articles

The Great God Entertainment, by A.W. Tozer
 

 *The Great God Entertainment*
by A.W.Tozer (1955)

A German philosopher many years ago said something to the effect that the
more a man has in his own heart, the less he will require from the outside;
excessive need for support from without is proof of the bankruptcy of the
inner man.

If this is true (and I believe it is) then the present inordinate attachment
to every form of entertainment is evidence that the inner life of modern man
is in serious decline. The average man has no central core of moral
assurance, no spring within his own breast, no inner strength to place him
above the need for repeated psychological shots to give him the courage to
go on living. He has become a parasite on the world, drawing his life from
his environment, unable to live a day apart from the stimulation which
society affords him.

Schleiermacher held that the feeling of dependence lies at the root of all
religious worship, and that however high the spiritual life might rise, it
must always begin with a deep sense of a great need which only God could
satisfy.

If this sense of need and a feeling of dependence are at the root of natural
religion, it is not hard to see why the great god Entertainment is so
ardently worshiped by so many. For there are millions who cannot live
without amusement; life without some form of entertainment for them is
simply intolerable; they look forward to the blessed relief afforded by
professional entertainers and other forms of psychological narcotics as a
dope addict looks to his daily shot of heroin. Without them they could not
summon courage to face existence.

No one with common human feeling will object to the simple pleasures of
life, nor to such harmless forms of entertainment as may help to relax the
nerves and refresh the mind exhausted by toil. Such things, if used with
discretion, may be a blessing along the way. That is one thing, however, the
all-out devotion to entertainment as a major activity for which and by which
men live is definitely something else again.

The abuse of a harmless thing is the essence of sin. The growth of the
amusement phase of human life to such fantastic proportions is a portent, a
threat to the souls of modern men. It has been built into a multimillion
dollar racket with greater power over human minds and human character than
any other educational influence on earth.

And the ominous thing is that its power is almost exclusively evil, rotting
the inner life, crowding out the long eternal thoughts which would fill the
souls of men, if they were but worthy to entertain them. The whole thing has
grown into a veritable religion which holds its devotees with a strange
fascination; and a religion, incidentally, against which it is now dangerous
to speak. For centuries the Church stood solidly against every form of
worldly entertainment, recognizing it for what it was—a device for wasting
time, a refuge from the disturbing voice of conscience, a scheme to divert
attention from moral accountability.

For this she got herself abused roundly by the sons of this world. But of
late she has become tired of the abuse and has given over the struggle. She
appears to have decided that if she cannot conquer the great god
Entertainment she may as well join forces with him and make what use she can
of his powers.So, today we have the astonishing spectacle of millions of
dollars being poured into the unholy job of providing earthly entertainment
for the so-called sons of heaven. Religious entertainment is in many places
rapidly crowding out the serious things of God.

Many churches these days have become little more than poor theaters where
fifth-rate “producers” peddle their shoddy wares with the full approval of
evangelical leaders who can even quote a holy text in defense of their
delinquency. And hardly a man dares raise his voice against it.

The great god Entertainment amuses his devotees mainly by telling them
stories. The love of stories, which is a characteristic of childhood, has
taken fast hold of the minds of the retarded saints of our day, so much so
that not a few persons manage to make a comfortable living by spinning yarns
and serving them up in various disguises to church people.

What is natural and beautiful in a child may be shocking when it persists
into adulthood, and more so when it appears in the sanctuary and seeks to
pass for true religion. Is it not a strange thing and a wonder that, with
the shadow of atomic destruction hanging over the world and with the coming
of Christ drawing near, the professed followers of the Lord should be giving
themselves up to religious amusements? That in an hour when mature saints
are so desperately needed vast numbers of believers should revert to
spiritual childhood and clamor for religious toys?

“Remember, 0 Lord, what is come upon us: consider, and behold our reproach.
The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned ! For
this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim.” AMEN. AMEN.

Taken from *Root of the Righteous*, Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications,
1955, p. 32-33.


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