Do Goldfish Know They’re Wet?

Image The following is a conversation I posed and received some wonderful feedback from in my second year at Tyndale (2010).  I also welcome your thoughts and feedback on this issue.

OK… I know that I might just be having too much fun with this or thinking too much about it. I’m not sure why I am so obsessed with goldfish anyways… but the thought came to me from the book “Do Fish Know They’re Wet – Living In Your World Without Getting Hooked” by Tom Neven.

So before you ask “What’s with you and goldfish?” let me tell you a bit about the project I am doing and why I value input. You see, lately God has been speaking to me a lot through our culture. Culture obviously is something that is awesome, but that we have to be aware of as Christians because so much of it is questionable. How do we make the right choices concerning music, friendships, tv shows, movies, the internet and more? How do we guard our hearts and minds against temptation when we see images on tv ads that we would rather not see, and when we go into a store and hear a song with questionable lyrics? There are so many struggles that we face and yet they seem to bombard our senses every chance they get.

My question is: Do goldfish know they’re wet? Here we have goldfish who are in an artificial environment just swimming around. They trust that the water they are in is not poisoned, but what if they are wrong? Are they aware that they are in an artificial environment?

In our own lives do we realize that the world is just an artificial environment as we wait for the heavenly one? Are we able to realize when our “water” is poisoned? Can we tell the difference between a wet environment and a dry one and do we act differently when we are in one or the other? Do we put on a mask when we’re in the dry environment, and once we’re back in the fish bowl live in a worldly way… OR are we always consistent to live in a wet environment as if we are dry (in other words: to live for Christ even in the world)? Are we IN the world but not OF it… or are we both IN the world and OF it?

How far do we go with our choices? What kind of music, tv shows, movies, etc should we listen to or watch? Magazines? Books? Internet websites? What kind of friends should we have? How important is accountability in making sure that we don’t get too wet? And how wet is too wet? If I watch one movie with a few swear words is that bad? What about with a very violent scene? What about if the whole movie is profane and violent with lots of gore? What if I only watch it once – will it all of a sudden make me want to watch more of those same types of movies?

If I keep letting myself slide here and there, at some point I might find that I have become completely part of a fish bowl and that I don’t even find anything wrong with being part of that environment. I might not even remember that there was another environment I used to be a part of. If I let one sin creep into my life unnoticed, I’m sure a host of other sins will follow shortly thereafter. As a Christian I need to guard myself against those things and stay pure.

Please post your thoughts about whether goldfish know they’re wet and whether we as Christians know if we’re wet or dry and how that affects us. Or just any thoughts that may have come up in reading this.

I would really like to preach a sermon on this at some point so any thoughts are helpful :). With that in mind write away (there are no right or wrong answers). I look forward to hearing your responses.

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