Should Christians Watch The Bachelor? 6 Questions To Ask Yourself
Each week, millions of people tune in to watch The Bachelor or one of its many spinoffs. Along with Fear Factor, Survivor, and American Idol, it’s one of the most successful reality TV shows of all time.
I’ve never had anyone ask me if it’s ok for Christians to watch one of those other shows, but they do ask about The Bachelor. Why does The Bachelor bothers our consciences in a way that watching most other reality TV shows don’t?
While consciences can be deceived, and misled, it’s dangerous to willfully violate your own sense of right and wrong.
So, should Christians watch The Bachelor? Unfortunately, Jesus never talked about reality TV, so we need to show wisdom. Here are six questions to ask yourself in order to help you arrive at your own answer.
Will You Accept This Show?
- Would you want your son or daughter to participate in The Bachelor? Would you want your son to rotate through 30 women as the world watched their intimate personal conversations? Would you want your son to find a wife through competitive dating? Would you want your daughter to compete with women, flaunting her sexuality before a television audience, hurrying through personal moments before the next contestant’s turn?
- Do the shows you watch have a lasting impact on you? I’ve noticed that when people admit to watching The Bachelor, they often quickly add that they watch it to make fun of it. I wonder if that response is a defense mechanism? Do they realize that they shouldn’t be watching it, so they try to justify their decision to watch it anyway?
I’ve heard some people admit that The Bachelor promotes unchristian values and still say something like, “It’s okay for me to watch this because I don’t take it seriously. It’s just entertainment and something to do with my friends.”
Maybe. But it’s naïve to think you are unaffected by your media consumption. The Bible seems clear that what we watch, what we think about, and what we dwell on shapes us in important ways:
“A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.” Proverbs 15:14
“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.” Psalm 101:3
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
- Are you okay with being a voyeur? I think you’d agree that part of the appeal of The Bachelor is watching other people’s intimate moments and personal disappointments. Do you want to be the kind of person who pours a glass of Chardonnay and sits down to laugh and mock people as they make fools of themselves and perhaps destroy their lives, all for your entertainment?
- Would you invite people to participate in sexual immorality in your living room? Of course not. That’s ridiculous. Would you invite people into your home to gossip and run down others’ reputations and make petty accusations? Nope. Would you sit with your teenagers and watch women come to your house to be treated in the most superficial ways? Never. Unless it’s called The Bachelor. Then the sexual immorality and slander and petty fights are just fun entertainment. Because somehow, since it’s a television show, it doesn’t have any impact on you.
- How successful are the relationships produced by The Bachelor? Those who end the program together ride off in the sunset and live happily ever after, right? There’s a common belief that the only thing preventing us from experiencing wedded bliss is finding our soul mate. Enter The Bachelor where one dude gets to sift through 30 attractive women vying for his attention and affection. All he has to do is pick one. It’s dating apps IRL.
But I’m sure you know that most relationships formed on the show don’t last.
So what’s the point? I think the show gives an unrealistic and unhelpful view of what real relationships look like. It feeds this powerful narrative that there is a Mr. or Mrs. Right out there waiting for us even though the results prove differently.
- Is emotional pornography ok? Traditional porn is extremely dangerous to our souls and our relationships. Normies can’t live up to the expectations created by the photoshopped versions of the most attractive people in the world!
But those same people who rightly criticize traditional porn are evidently okay with emotional porn. We don’t want people paying to stare at people’s bodies, but we are okay paying (though advertisers) to stare at people’s emotional meltdowns. We think it’s dangerous to compare your spouse physically to a false “ideal”, but it’s ok to compare them emotionally or romantically.
We rightly comment that the centerfold’s body is unrealistic and often airbrushed, but we don’t readily admit that the dating life portrayed on The Bachelor is unrealistic. What normal person has access to all the fun things, all the romantic locations, all the fine meals they do on the show? Real life isn’t nearly as romantic as a television show.
Hopefully, those six questions helped you decide if you’re comfortable watching The Bachelor. I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m not. While you don’t have to agree with me, you do have to discern how your media habits affect you, the people you watch with, and the people on the show. Maybe it all circles back to the Great Commandment and what it looks like to love God and our neighbor?
What does the most recent Bachelor, Clayton Echard, have to say? Find out on our recent (and of course, dramatic!) episode where we ask Clayton the tough questions about faith and reality TV.
Posted by Keith Simon