Sensationalism And My Rebellion From It

Last Friday I ran across an article entitled “Why Evangelicals Hate Jesus” thanks to the recommendation from Rachel.

I have yet to read the article and I have no plans to in the future. And while I did link to the article so you can read it, I wouldn’t recommend you read it despite it probably having some very legitimate things to say.

Why am I so against reading it?

I have a major problem with sensationalism. So much of a problem with it that believe we should put an end to it. I’m not naive enough to think I have that kind of power, but I don’t think it has any place in society.

Social media hasn’t helped any of this, because everyone is given advice on how to get more followers on Twitter, how to get more people to read your blog posts, and most of the advice says the exact same thing…make yourself look/sound interesting, or in other words, sensationalize who you are and what you are talking about as if people won’t notice the fraud of it all.

We see this in church all the time as well. I don’t use Twitter or Facebook most of the time while I’m at church for this very reason. I’d hate to turn an experience I had with my church family into the greatest thing to ever happen at a church.

But this is how we begin to describe our experiences or how we begin to title our news articles in this instance. They’re always the best ever, or some other over-the-top way to describe something so more people will take notice.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love creativity and using human languages to convey a point is something that takes creativity. I just don’t want to be roped into reading something by someone being overly provocative.

My two main issues with sensationalism…

  1. It devalues the human ability to decipher what is truly worthy of our attention and energy.
  2. It subtly teaches us that God does not show up in the ordinary moments of life and we need to push for extreme experiences to find God.


  • kirk

    Great thought Tyler. I agree.

    In fact, the life-blood of pop-culture in general is extravagance, and narcissism. The more lurid, the more attention is will get. The net effect is a warping of what is real, what is grounded in the solid .. what is worthy, and worth pursuing.

  • Alan Wilkerson

    But if you don’t pay attention to the sound bites from MSNBC, FOX and the TBN how will you know that is TRUE??? LOL. Good post Tyler, as I age I’m finding more and more to NOT pay attention too and less and less that I must pay attention too right NOW.


  • bondChristian

    I’m naturally an extremist. I’m always on the fringes, always pushing to the edges. So while I somewhat agree with you, especially for journalism and general truth sharing, I’m not sure how it works out in practice. I like the simplicity of it, though.

    Do you think it’s more of an attitude change, or is there a definite line where something becomes sensationalist?

    Also, can you explain more about #1: “It devalues the human ability to decipher what is truly worthy of our attention and energy”?

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

    • Tyler

      I’d agree it is probably more of a mindset/attitude shift than a knowing where the line is.

      My point #1…my basic point is that when we sensationalize things it is almost always so more people will notice. Describing something in a “normal” way (I’d say sensationalism is often the new normal) wouldn’t allow us to get noticed as much. So rather than relying on people to decipher that what you have to say has value, we sensationalize so people will notice no matter what. That help at all?

      • bondChristian

        Yes, I think so. I hadn’t thought of it that way before. I guess it comes down to trying to balance it correctly then, where on one hand it’s not exaggerated beyond the truth, but on the other hand it still reaches as many people as possible.

        Of course, if what I happen to be sharing is garbage anyway, then it’s best when no one pays attention. Seems that’s the stuff that gets exaggerated the most though.

        -Marshall Jones Jr.

  • @realpb

    WORST POST EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EVER!!!!!!

    • Tyler

      Been waiting for that one.

      Well played.