Christians are meant to have an ongoing conversation with God. He addresses us in the language of Scripture, and we address Him through the language of prayer.
This emphasis on the Word has had a deep impact on Western culture.
Today’s missionaries are similarly concerned with literacy. In nonliterate societies, they develop a written form of the native language and teach people to read the Bible.
They can then go on, of course, to read about anything—sanitation, health care, democracy—things that often transform their culture, much as the Reformation transformed Western culture.
Here in the West we are in danger of coming full circle: The visual media may ultimately undermine literacy. If that happens, can biblical faith still flourish?
Neil Postman’s writings remind Christians of the dangers of television. We need to learn when to turn it off lest we lose our historical reputation as the “people of the book.”
For further reading:
“Neil Postman, University Professor of Media Ecology, dies at 72 ,”
Jonathan Zimmerman, “ Postman as Prophet ,”
Peter Kavanagh, “ An echoing silence in his wake ,” Globe and Mail (
Gene Edward Veith, “ Flex the brain ,” World,
Jay Rosen, “ Neil Postman: A civilized man in a century of barbarism ,” Salon,
Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death (Viking Press, 1986).
Neil Postman, The Disappearance of Childhood (Vintage, 1994).
Gene Edward Veith, Reading between the Lines (Crossway, 1990).
Neil Postman, “ Informing Ourselves to Death ,” speech given at a meeting of the German Informatics Society on
Read more writings by Postman .
C. John Sommerville, How the News Makes Us Dumb (InterVarsity, 1999).
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