Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Octavian Poenaru
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000473A
00:01 If you are at all familiar with the Great Controversy,
00:03 you know that there is a spiritual battle going on
00:07 for control of your mind.
00:09 Do you know what type of effect
00:11 media is having on your spiritual life?
00:14 Join us today as we discuss this very hot topic.
00:50 Hello, I'm Shelley Quinn
00:51 and we welcome you once again to Issues and Answers.
00:54 And we're so glad that you tuned in today,
00:55 because we will be talking about a very important topic
01:00 that is The Effect of Media on Your Spirituality.
01:05 Our guest today is Pastor Octavian Poenaru
01:08 and you are the pastor
01:10 for the Colville Washington Seventh-day Adventist Church
01:14 and another, you have a district, is that correct?
01:16 Right, I have another small church
01:18 which is I owned.
01:19 Okay, well, we're so glad that you're here, Octavian.
01:22 You've been to 3ABN before and we enjoyed you so much
01:25 that we wanted you to come back...
01:27 Thank you very much. And speak to this topic.
01:29 You actually do quite a few seminars
01:31 as you travel with us, don't you?
01:33 I had to...
01:34 Yeah, I do. Yes.
01:35 I'm invited here and there when I have time off
01:38 or when I can take time off from my main responsibility
01:41 as a local pastor.
01:43 Yes. Well, we're very thrilled.
01:45 We're gonna be talking about The Battle for Our Mind.
01:50 And I know that we're gonna be doing
01:52 several programs actually.
01:54 This one is "The Effect that Media has
01:56 on Our Spirituality."
01:58 Then we will talk about
02:00 the effect that it has on our family life...
02:02 Family Life, yes. Right. Then our health.
02:05 And finally you're going to give us some solutions...
02:07 Right, right. Wonderful.
02:09 Please just jump in
02:11 and I'm just gonna turn it over to you.
02:14 Well, before I express my concerns about media
02:19 and the relationship with the spiritual life,
02:21 the family life, health and so on.
02:24 I would like to say
02:25 that the media has been given to us
02:28 is a great blessing first of all.
02:30 Then there are a lot of benefits
02:33 when it comes to media and technology,
02:35 and I think that God has given human beings the wisdom
02:38 and the knowledge especially in the last 100 years,
02:41 in my opinion with one purpose only
02:43 to finish the preaching of the gospel
02:45 and the end of, and the end of this world
02:50 as we know it to be to come sooner
02:52 and we see Jesus Christ.
02:54 That's what I believe is the main purpose
02:56 of all the technology we have from cars, iPhones,
02:59 television and so and so forth,
03:01 but as we know the devil takes it and twist it.
03:04 He does this with everything.
03:07 And there are a lot of benefits
03:09 and if I have to mention a beautiful story
03:11 of how media can help the preaching of the gospel
03:14 or changing lives and you know that better than I do,
03:17 because you are in the business of media.
03:20 But on a small scale,
03:22 I remember once I've been invited to speak in California,
03:26 Loma Linda Romanian Church for a week of prayer
03:29 and there I...
03:31 At one, I remember Sabbath morning
03:34 at the worship service,
03:36 in the sermon I mentioned the name of a man
03:39 which I baptized 20 years before,
03:42 to more than 20 years ago in Romania.
03:46 He was a young man at that time,
03:49 you may say from a young culture kind of.
03:52 But he very, very enthusiastically
03:54 embraced the truth,
03:56 and for about two and a half years
03:57 his life was completely changed for the good.
04:00 Unfortunately he drifted back in the same world
04:03 where he came from.
04:05 And now 20 years passing by
04:08 and I don't know anything about him,
04:11 I would ask some friends,
04:13 do you know anything and they didn't know much well.
04:15 I ended up in the United States.
04:17 He ended up in the Island of Malta.
04:20 And one day, I don't know why the only explanation
04:24 is that the Holy Spirit spoke to his mind,
04:26 he googles my name, technology, he googles my name
04:31 and he finds the sermon I am preaching in Loma Linda,
04:35 this is 20 years after.
04:38 He listens to the sermon and in the sermon
04:40 I mentioned his name in a certain context
04:43 and he was so impressed by that,
04:45 that he somehow google and found my address
04:49 and got in touch with me by e-mail.
04:51 We got back studying via Skype technology again.
04:54 Praise God.
04:56 A few months ago, maybe three or four months ago,
04:58 he was baptized.
04:59 And I see him like as you see a flower blooming,
05:04 he is just blooming spiritually,
05:06 embracing the truth for the second time
05:09 in a more mature way and in a wonderful way.
05:12 What I'm saying with this,
05:14 is there are plenty of benefits of media
05:17 and the access to information it's amazing.
05:22 On the same, in the same time, there are plenty of concerns
05:25 and probably I will address this more than the benefits,
05:30 because we all enjoy the benefits
05:31 but I like to address the concerns.
05:33 Yes, and as you said here at 3ABN
05:35 we hear stories daily.
05:38 I mean multiple stories daily,
05:40 people who have seen 3ABN on television,
05:43 or listened on the radio and have...
05:45 or on the internet and are coming into the church,
05:48 you know, ready to be baptized quite often.
05:50 They'll listen for quite some time
05:51 till they know these truths.
05:53 So that it is a powerful tool for good but as you said,
05:58 the devil definitely wants to turn it into something.
06:02 And I'm thinking in today's society
06:04 when, when most of us connect with media
06:09 in a very personal way.
06:12 Friends on media, on Facebook or in e-mails and Skype
06:17 and other means of communication,
06:18 a lot of business is done via internet
06:21 and so and so forth,
06:22 then it's a huge part of a personal life,
06:26 professional life, in the same time again,
06:29 I would like to emphasize what are my concerns
06:32 or what I, from my perspective
06:34 for both the spiritual life in the first session,
06:36 the family life in the second session,
06:38 the health and media
06:40 and then what I believe can we address it as a solution.
06:44 That sounds wonderful.
06:46 I like to begin reading a Bible passage,
06:49 it's in the Book of Revelation.
06:52 And it's in chapter 12:7-9,
06:59 Revelation 12:7-9,
07:01 "And the war broke out in heaven:
07:03 Michael and his angels fought with the dragon,
07:05 and the dragon and his angels fought,
07:07 and they did not prevail,
07:09 nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.
07:12 So the great dragon was cast out,
07:15 that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan,
07:18 who deceives the whole world..."
07:21 Please remember "Who deceives the whole world,
07:24 He was cast out to the earth,
07:25 and his angels were cast out with him."
07:28 From the end, from the beginning to the end
07:31 the devil was busy with one single think,
07:34 to deceive day and night, day and night,
07:37 he can use everything possible for one single goal to deceive,
07:41 to take us away from God and to destroy us.
07:44 He is after all the father of lies, Jesus said.
07:47 I remember that one of my favorite authors
07:50 in a book, the title of the book
07:53 it's Messages to Young People,
07:55 she speaks exclusively to young people in that book
07:58 which I would recommend a book.
08:00 She says, very interesting things,
08:02 she says, Ellen White is her name,
08:06 "As we near the close of time,
08:09 the human mind is more readily affected
08:12 by Satan's devices.
08:14 Satan has ever been ambitious
08:15 to counterfeit the work of Christ
08:17 and establish his own power and claims.
08:20 He does not generally do this openly and boldly."
08:25 That's true.
08:26 "He is artful and knows the most effectual way for him
08:29 to accomplish his work is to come to poor fellowmen
08:33 in the form of an angel of light."
08:36 I think there is,
08:37 there is a very deep concept in this passage
08:39 and that is that devil is a very intelligent creature,
08:46 very, he's very personal
08:48 and he comes to human beings in a very deceiving way,
08:52 in a very artful ways.
08:53 It's insidious. Insidious, yes.
08:56 That's a great word for him, isn't it?
08:59 You know, this is the thing about deceit.
09:01 When she says, it's not just, it,
09:05 it is subtle because often what deceit involves
09:11 is it may be 60 percent, 75 percent truth
09:15 but just put a twist on that truth,
09:17 just turn it to where it's air.
09:20 But people are deceived
09:21 because it is cloaked in something else.
09:26 Well, there is a, there's a quote I came up with
09:28 and I say, there must be a lot of truth in a lie.
09:32 There must be a lot of truth in a lie
09:34 in order to be acceptable.
09:36 That's good.
09:39 When I'm thinking of the strategy
09:41 is to conquer the mind.
09:42 There are a few of them I came up with eight
09:45 which are my, my main concern
09:49 and all of them are related to media,
09:51 one of them is music, movies,
09:54 social media, shows, sports,
09:58 computer games, pornography and gambling.
10:02 All of them, eight of them,
10:03 I consider they are very powerful strategies
10:06 to reach out human mind
10:07 and actually conquer human mind for himself.
10:12 And I think media has, has power,
10:14 there are some statistics which shows
10:18 that it took 30 years to reach 50 million users
10:24 then in the statistics published in 2009
10:28 in social economics.
10:29 It says, "That it took 50 years...
10:32 it took 38 years to reach out 50 million users.
10:35 It took 13 years for television,
10:37 4 years for Internet, 3 years for iPad.
10:41 It took Facebook to add 100 million users
10:44 in less than 9 months.
10:46 That's amazing.
10:47 And then iPhone application hit one billion in 9 months
10:51 and this is an old statistic.
10:53 Then you see a huge progression
10:55 and it seems that it's speeding up.
11:02 Media has a lot of, a lot of power,
11:04 the number of hours per day
11:06 that TV's on in an average US home,
11:09 it's about 6 hours and 47 minutes.
11:15 I believe that some of us relate to media
11:20 or depend on media more than others,
11:22 but I know people, I know homes
11:25 where the TV never, is never off...
11:28 And you see also now it's so amazing,
11:31 in my own family I have seen this
11:33 where you have not at my home
11:36 but in other family members' homes,
11:39 where each child will have a television in the room...
11:44 And actually, you know,
11:45 that kind of leads to some unsupervised watching
11:48 but, but it's, it's becoming such a part of their life
11:52 that they leave while they're doing homework
11:54 or they're doing everything, and it can't be healthy.
11:57 I remember once I was leading a depression seminar
12:01 which was a two month seminar once a week,
12:04 and one of the participants, actually this lady,
12:06 she was a health professional.
12:08 And she had to travel one hour to come to this class.
12:11 And she confessed at one point,
12:13 she said, "Octavian, the television,
12:17 the TV is on in my home 24/7."
12:21 And in the same time she was confessing that she said,
12:24 "I'm struggling with sleeping, I sleep two, three hours a day.
12:27 I can't sleep more than that." And we talked about that.
12:32 Media has an amazing power
12:33 and without getting into too many details,
12:36 if you, if you think of some of the most popular people,
12:41 those rich and famous as we call them.
12:44 Most names are coming out in one way or another
12:47 related to media or they have become very famous
12:50 and well known via media.
12:53 I remember even being a child.
12:56 Please remember, I was a child maybe 50 years ago
13:00 and the movies we could watch in communist Romania
13:05 were black and white and very well screened
13:07 by the communist regime and you can't compare.
13:10 You cannot compare or very little
13:13 comparison between what we watched 50 years ago
13:15 or 45 years ago
13:17 and watch what's on the screen or internet today.
13:21 And still I remember being a child,
13:24 the names like John Wayne,
13:26 you know, Sophia Loren, Charles Chaplin
13:30 and other European characters like
13:33 Louis de Funes, he was a big comedian,
13:36 a French comedian.
13:37 Then all these name had a huge power
13:40 on, on my life as a child,
13:42 and I began modeling them in one way or another.
13:45 And media has a tremendous power
13:47 and if you think that in sports people like Michael Jordan,
13:52 very well known and very rich, famous.
13:56 If you think, I was looking on Forbes which is the list
14:00 that publishes some of the very rich people.
14:04 Cristiano Ronaldo,
14:05 who is the number one soccer player.
14:10 On the Forbes it says about him that he has a salary
14:14 of 50 plus million dollars a year.
14:17 That's amazing! And...
14:20 And he's one of the most popular athletes
14:22 with 102 million Facebook followers,
14:27 102 million Facebook followers.
14:30 He's the, He's one of the,
14:31 again 35 million Twitter followers,
14:34 then even the idea that they have followers,
14:36 you know they make disciples.
14:38 It's a very interesting concept.
14:41 Well, and you see especially, you know, the like young pop,
14:47 the rock, the rappers whatever,
14:48 there's people who are either stars
14:52 or they're musicians who lead lives of that
14:58 are somewhat amoral.
15:00 I mean their values are...
15:03 Their standard is very low
15:05 and yet even in Christian homes,
15:09 just because of the influence appears you find teenagers,
15:14 young people, young girls,
15:16 who are idolizing certain young men,
15:19 they idolize certain young women,
15:21 and they try to emulate them
15:23 and that has such an influence and impact on them.
15:27 You're reading my mind
15:28 because I was about to give an example.
15:29 I remember one day, I was talking to a young lady,
15:32 she's probably 15 in my district
15:34 and I mentioned the name.
15:36 Somehow I don't remember exactly
15:37 the context I mentioned the name Justin Bieber.
15:41 And she said, "Oh, I adore him. I adore him."
15:45 And that made me really think because she's in her mind
15:49 Justin Bieber became her God.
15:54 The Bible says, you should not have other gods other than me.
15:58 We shouldn't offer our supreme affections
16:00 and love to anybody else, and my concern...
16:04 This is one of my-concerns
16:05 that the, the Hollywood has become the religion
16:09 for the new generation and the movie stars,
16:12 the sports stars, the show stars,
16:13 they are actually the gods of the new age.
16:17 And while I was thinking of this, one of the days,
16:20 I was looking, I don't know exactly how did I come
16:24 to find this book which was written in 1954
16:27 by a British mathematician and philosopher
16:31 in political activist,
16:32 his name is Bertrand Russell
16:36 and he made at that time a very interesting,
16:39 I think very profound observation
16:41 and he says this in his book,
16:44 The Scientific Outlook in at page 142,
16:47 he says, "The great majority of young people
16:50 in almost all civilized countries
16:54 derive their ideas of love, honor
16:57 of the way to make money
16:59 and of the importance of good clothes
17:00 from the evenings spent
17:02 in seeing what Hollywood things good for them.
17:06 I doubt, whether all the schools
17:08 and churches combined have as much influence
17:11 as the cinema upon the opinions of young,
17:14 of the young in regard to such intimate matters
17:17 as love and marriage and money making.
17:21 The producers of Hollywood
17:23 are the high priests of a new religion."
17:25 That's a frightening statement, how true,
17:28 the producers of Hollywood
17:31 are the high priests of a new religion.
17:33 Certainly if he saw that in 1954,
17:37 what would he think today? Yeah, yeah.
17:39 And I think this, this man I don't know
17:40 if he had a Christian background or not
17:42 but definitely he was very, very smart man.
17:44 We're very well educated and very oriented in life
17:49 and what was happening in the world
17:50 and I think he had this, this vision
17:53 and his understanding
17:55 about what was actually happening with the generation,
17:56 of his generation.
17:58 And as you say this happened 50 years ago,
18:01 what can you speak about the world today.
18:03 And looking at my time,
18:06 I realize that's gonna to be a short session
18:09 but then our four main concerns
18:11 when it comes to spiritual life.
18:13 Number one concern is related to the fact
18:20 that media has a hypnotic effect.
18:23 What I mean by that without getting into details
18:25 is that when we, when we,
18:27 when we sit in front of the screen,
18:29 when we expose ourselves to media influences,
18:32 most of the time you basically act
18:39 as being in a trance in a certain way,
18:41 and I do not have the time now to, to expand on that.
18:46 But you can see watch it,
18:48 watch a child in front of the screen
18:51 and you will see that the child is completely immersed
18:55 in what happens there.
18:56 His attention is completely taken by the screen...
19:00 I, just quickly. Yes.
19:02 A friend has a child who's nearly two years old,
19:04 has never seen television
19:07 and they were someplace recently where we went with him
19:10 and the television was on,
19:12 it was just on kind of in the background.
19:15 And suddenly it caught his attention
19:17 and this child was so alert
19:19 and pays very close attention to his parents,
19:22 but it caught his attention
19:23 and his mother's trying to now get his attention
19:25 putting her hands in front of him
19:27 and he is just mesmerized
19:30 by what he's seeing on television.
19:31 Yeah, and we had the same experience,
19:33 I mean we didn't have a TV for a long time.
19:35 I mean, I grew up with a TV,
19:36 my wife didn't grew up with a TV
19:37 and you can see a difference between us.
19:40 I'll mention that probably more
19:41 when you talk about family life.
19:45 But at one point, at one point
19:47 after the revolution took place in Romania
19:50 and the new kind of a thing came we said, "Well,"
19:54 and the color TV came to be and,
19:56 and myself having this,
20:02 I'm sensitive to media influences
20:05 because of my, my upbringing
20:07 and, and I said to my wife I said, "Well, we need a TV,
20:10 we need a TV to get informed,
20:11 the political changes are very often
20:14 and we need to get informed."
20:15 And she said, "Okay" so we bought this color TV
20:18 and I remember our son was about two years old,
20:20 and one day I...
20:22 As you mentioned I saw him just mesmerized there
20:27 in front of the screen and I called him
20:28 and he didn't respond and I said,
20:30 "Well, this doesn't look good, we have to get rid of it."
20:34 And we did, I think for the good.
20:40 It has a hypnotic effect, we do not realize
20:42 that when we are in front of the screen,
20:43 actually somebody else has access to our minds.
20:48 We open our minds to someone else's influence.
20:51 And as a well known scientist,
20:57 a British scientist, her name is Susan Greenfield,
21:01 I'll mention her name in another session more.
21:06 She says that all these exposure to media
21:08 actually changes your mind
21:11 and changes your brain in a very real way.
21:15 There's a concept called brain plasticity
21:17 which brain changes every day depending on the exposure,
21:23 and media has a powerful influence
21:24 in changing our minds.
21:26 Then the first concern I have
21:28 is this what I call the hypnotic effect,
21:30 because again in front of the screen
21:34 we let down most of the time any our guards
21:38 and, and we just download in our brains,
21:43 our minds information of one kind or another.
21:45 And that's more when you're talking
21:47 what I've read only,
21:48 it's more entertainment gives you get.
21:50 For example like if you're watching
21:52 3ABN Christian television,
21:55 where there is a Bible study going on
21:57 where you have to be engaged,
21:58 it's a totally different effect.
21:59 Yes, yes. Yeah.
22:01 Specifically I'm talking about
22:02 these the eight strategies I mentioned,
22:05 a certain kind of music,
22:08 theatrical entertainment or movies, computer games,
22:13 gambling, pornography, shows and sports,
22:17 then I'm talking about certain aspects in media not...
22:21 There are beautiful great programs
22:23 but I'm talking about
22:25 those who have a negative effect on us.
22:28 The second concern is changing in moral values...
22:32 We become what we behold.
22:36 I actually had done my, in my presentation
22:40 the passage from 2 Corinthians 3:18,
22:43 "But we all, with unveiled face,
22:46 beholding as in the mirror the glory of the Lord,
22:49 are being transformed into the same image
22:53 from glory to glory,
22:54 just as by the spirit of the Lord."
22:57 This change of a human mind, it happens one way or another.
23:02 I believe we either become change
23:06 in the likeness of Christ...
23:09 Or even I'm afraid to say, but we become change
23:12 in the likeness of the other one.
23:15 Yeah, I think Roman 6:16 isn't it,
23:17 it says that we become slaves to whom we obey whether...
23:23 If we are obeying the devil, slaves to death,
23:26 or we're obeying Christ slaves to righteousness.
23:29 Then we are changed, the mind changes
23:32 depending on what we behold.
23:33 And as I mentioned in the beginning
23:37 as a child watching those movies really changed me
23:43 and changed my values and my ideals.
23:45 I remember one of my, my idols at that time was Fred Astaire,
23:52 he was a step dancer and in Hollywood
23:55 and seeing him on the screen and dancing,
23:56 they're surrounded by beautiful ladies, I said,
23:59 "Wow, wow, that's a great life, I like to be like that."
24:02 And for a while I was thinking,
24:04 oh, how can I learn this step dancing
24:06 and be there and be in the show.
24:09 It changes the values, it changes your worldview,
24:12 changes your ideals
24:14 and is obviously changes the outcome,
24:16 the way you relate to life.
24:18 And the process goes the other way
24:22 because it takes you away from God.
24:25 You do not appreciate anymore.
24:27 The Bible spiritual things, they are tasteless.
24:30 They're not interesting.
24:32 Well, when you see what Hollywood produces
24:34 which is lewd, crude
24:37 and in my mind a lot socially unacceptable
24:40 but there's, there's the real, there is the drama,
24:43 there's, you know, excitement, there's violence.
24:47 So you become desensitized to things
24:52 and then the Bible to some people
24:54 seems boring after much time, yeah.
24:58 I was looking on a lot of research.
24:59 Again there is not enough time to expand on it.
25:03 There is a quote
25:04 from one of the professors Dr. Raul Houston
25:09 and he wrote an article in journal
25:12 of adolescent health, it's an old article,
25:15 it's in 2007, but I think it's significant
25:18 what he says and he says this, "In this new environment radio,
25:22 television, movies, video, videogames, all cell phones,
25:26 and computer network have assumed central roles
25:30 in our children's daily lives.
25:33 For better or for worse,
25:34 the mass media are having an enormous impact
25:38 on our children values, beliefs and behaviors."
25:42 Then you see these statements done by
25:44 or made by scientists
25:46 and people which are not specifically interested
25:48 in the development of spiritual life,
25:50 but they see a change in moral values of the society
25:54 and we have seen that in the last I think 50 years.
25:59 And you see that I believe you see that, you know,
26:02 in every countries they've made some studies.
26:05 For example they look into the raise of violence
26:08 in countries overtime,
26:10 countries that did not have television
26:13 and they look if the statistics changed
26:16 after ten years having the media.
26:18 I personally believe that the reason
26:21 that our country has accepted the practice of homosexuality
26:27 and marriage among homosexuals so rapidly,
26:32 I mean you saw something
26:33 just where there were so many opposed
26:35 and then within a period of a couple of years,
26:38 it was, it totally reversed itself
26:40 and I think it's because there have been so many movies
26:42 that have been coming out or the television shows
26:45 and showing it all in a very positive light.
26:49 Something that I say and I would just quickly.
26:51 Satan never hands us sin like in a garbage bag.
26:58 What he does is he takes his garbage,
27:01 he wraps it up with satin paper, you know,
27:04 the foil paper, satin bows
27:06 and then he hands us this beautiful package,
27:09 and we don't recognize
27:11 it's nothing more than gift wrapped garbage.
27:13 But that's what's happening here.
27:15 I like to mention, there is a study
27:17 that has been done over 300,
27:22 over more than 300 young people between 9 to 15 years old
27:28 and they have been a surveyed
27:30 in trying to find out what are their values
27:33 and in the study it says,
27:35 "During a sensitive development,
27:37 developmental phase, preteens,
27:40 preteens are the largest users of media
27:45 consuming over seven and a half hours a day,
27:47 seven days a week outside of school."
27:51 It's amazing.
27:52 I just looked up and saw that our time is all gone,
27:55 I cannot believe that.
27:57 We see that there is a definite problem.
27:59 We want you to certainly join us next time
28:03 because we're going to continue talking about
28:05 the impact that media is having on spiritual life,
28:09 family life on your health and we've got some solutions.
28:13 Octavian, thank you so much...
28:15 My pleasure. For joining us today.
28:17 The time flew by.
28:19 We thank you for joining us as well.