Subliminal messaging is all over the media today. Television, movies, music, and social media all contain subliminal messaging. Subliminal messages are the “words or images presented below our conscious awareness.”
The purpose of subliminal messaging is to slip past your mental awareness and become rooted in your mind. Since subliminal messaging is so prevalent in the modern-day, how should Christians respond to it?
Subliminal messaging is quite powerful, which is why it has been banned in many countries. It has the power to be able to influence our behavior, desires, and thoughts. While subliminal messaging cannot brainwash us, it can highly influence our decisions (Ibid.). It can be quite tricky to pick up on subliminal messaging unless you are looking for it.
Major businesses and companies utilize subliminal messaging in their everyday commercials and campaigns. Their goal is to get you to want to buy their product or believe what they want you to believe. As one can imagine, this can grow to become quite dangerous if left alone.
It is one thing for a company to use subliminal messaging to influence you to buy their product; however, it is another thing if a company uses subliminal messaging to influence what a person believes.
During the 1980s, music companies started utilizing the subliminal messaging method of backmasking, which is when music is recorded and then played backward in the song or musical piece. Many Christians believed backmasking was a form of Satanic practices and they did not want any believer to be involved in listening to these songs.
The majority of songs, which contained the subliminal messaging method of backmasking were alleged songs from heavy metal bands and other rock genre bands. The band Led Zeppelin’s song “Stairway to Heaven,” which contained backmasking, was taken before a court because of its alleged Satanic worship (Ibid.).
In the same way, the subliminal messaging method of backmasking became dangerous to the point of death. “Better By You, Better Than Me” by Judas Priest was a song that allegedly caused two teens to die by suicide because of the hidden subliminal messaging (Ibid.).
These two teens were contemplating suicide when they heard the words, “Do it,” in which they saw it was a sign to go through with their plan of suicide (Ibid.). The parents of these two teens took this case to court against Judas Priest; however, sadly these parents did not win the case.
Instead, the court ruled in favor of Judas Priest. These are just a few examples of the dangers of subliminal messaging. It is advisable for Christians to be aware of the peril that can be the result of subliminal messaging.
A Christian’s Response
The truth of the matter is that Christians cannot control whether or not companies or businesses place subliminal messaging in their ads, movies, television shows, or songs. However, Christians can control how they respond to them. Christians need to be as “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
This means we should analyze what we see and hear to make sure it aligns with the Word of God. We need to be careful with what we listen to and watch because subliminal messaging can be quite deceitful and sneaky.
A common nonchalant subliminal messaging portrayed in movies and television is the idea of living with a person before the man and woman are married. This idea was majorly promoted in the highly popular television series Friends.
Many modern-day television shows promote this same subliminal messaging despite the fact that a man and a woman should be married first before they live together (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; Hebrews 13:4). Another common subliminal message promoted in music, television, movies, and media is curse words.
It is near to impossible to find a streamlined television show, movie, or song without curse words in it outside of Christian media. Curse words are seen as “cool,” “in,” and “nontraditional.” This subliminal messaging can slowly sink into our minds and cause us to rationalize the behavior in our own minds.
The Bible tells us to not participate in curse words or other perverse speech (Colossians 3:8-10; Ephesians 4:29, 5:4). As Christians, we have to become aware of how subliminal messaging can affect us. Simply because we are Christians does not mean we are immune to subliminal messaging.
We can become more aware of subliminal messaging and its ulterior motive by putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). The devil is extremely crafty; therefore, he will try to use any way possible to trip us up and make us fall into sin, including utilizing the avenue of subliminal messaging.
This is not to say all subliminal messages are of the devil because it is not. Many companies utilize subliminal messaging to increase their sales and are not trying to cause customers to alter their beliefs.
While it is not kind to try to manipulate people into buying an object, these companies are not going to try to get you to join a Satanic cult. Whether you are a new believer or have been a believer for many years, you need to be cautious when you watch or listen to any sort of media content as well as what you read in books or magazines.
There are many underlying messages that are trying to be pushed on listeners, watchers, and readers. Before we make a decision, we need to consult God rather than an ad, social media, or another type of media device search engine.
Subliminal messages can grow to become dangerous if Christians are not careful. Advertisements will try to convince us that their product will be the answer to all of our problems, but it simply is not true.
No hair product, automobile, or house will be the answer to our problems. Only the Lord will be able to answer our problems and help us through the process. In every single thing we watch, listen to, or read, we need to run it through the Bible.
In other words, we need to put on our biblical worldview when we watch, listen, or read anything from the streamlined media or culture. Christians should respond to subliminal messaging with cautious, careful, and deliberate action.
There is nothing we can do to stop businesses and companies from presenting subliminal messaging to us through our computers, phones, or music streaming services; however, we can choose to be discerning in our response to these messages.
Why Does This Matter?
The next time you come across an ad, television show, movie, or song, make it a priority to give close attention to the messages being portrayed. Ask yourself, “What is this messaging trying to influence me to do? What is this ad wanting me to purchase? What do the lyrics of this song mean?”
In everything, we need to be careful and ready to avoid any unbiblical subliminal messaging being promoted through our media devices, films, and books. Once we become aware of the subliminal messaging, we will be able to ascertain which ones are harmful and which ones are not.
Therefore, be careful, cautious, and prudent the next time subliminal messaging starts trying to influence you. Since subliminal messaging normally drifts under our radar, we need to be intentional about paying close attention to the things we watch, see, and read.
Subliminal messages are being bombarded at us through much of our waking day; however, it is up to us to respond biblically in a way to glorify God.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
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