Desensitization: What It Is, What Causes It, And Its Prevention

I want to teach everyone–myself included–about desensitization. I want to begin by telling a little about my backstory for writing this. I listened to a podcast a while back which reflected the prayerful thoughts of Lauren Daigle, called, 8. Daigle Bites – George Floyd Reflections. This podcast was pulled from the original Instagram video she posted. I believe that just as I felt the compassion in that podcast, you will too. My intention is not to promote this podcast, though, but its passion. What we will be talking about in this teaching is:

  • What is desensitization?
  • What causes us to become desensitized?
  • And lastly, how can we prevent ourselves with the Spirit’s help from becoming desensitized?

I now want to disclose the definition of desensitize as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition, which can be found here: It is a trantitive verb. I’ve only selected two out of three of the definitions linked to above:

  1. To render ensensitive or less sensitive
  2. To make emotionally insensitive or unresponsive, as by long exposure or repeated shocks.

With this in mind, I now want show you the excerpt from the podcast I alluded to earlier. She said, “I’ve just been tossing and turning. I can’t sleep because of thinking about the current events in the world, and I’ve received a lot of text messages Yesterday about my silence regarding the George Floyd issue, and let me assure everybody that my silence has had nothing to do with a lack of concern, but it’s because I haven’t had a moment to be still, and pray, and reflect, and ask God where to stand with my words–how to communicate with my words. I know where I stand, but with my words how do I speak on something that’s great in magnitude–great in weight. The weight of a topic like this is not easilly addressed. It’s not just a quick repost of somebody’s story so that you look like you fit in with where the world stands. To me, it’s so much more than that. And I’ve talked with friends and I’ve . . . I’ve tried to gain perspectives and . . . so let me start by saying, I think this is horrific. I think what was done to George Floyd was absolutely horific. There is really no other way to say it. It enrages me. And I’ll tell you a couple things: 1. I couldn’t watch the full video. I couldn’t watch the full video for the sake of not being desensitized. I don’t want to see another black person die and just think, Oh, it happened again. There is nothing in me that wants to get used to this. That’s the thing I think that I get so frustrated about. I don’t want to get used to this. All these video games where people are killing each other and its glorified . . . I don’t want to get used to this. I think it’s horible. I think what happened to George Floyd is absolutely infuriating. So because I didn’t watch the full video because I don’t want my eyes to just become accustomed to things that are hellacious and wrong–not because I don’t care. It has nothing to do with that. It’s because I . . . I don’t want my brain to become watered down to things that are very potent.”

What is Desensitization?

I now want to disclose again the definition of desensitize as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition, which can be found here: It is a transitive verb.

  1. To render ensensitive or less sensitive
  2. To make emotionally insensitive or unresponsive, as by long exposure or repeated shocks.

Desensitization

I believe that desensitization is not just someone not caring about a tragedy. It can be subtle and slow. Just like you have to be diligent against pride and idolatry, you have to be diligent against desensitization. As I discuss in the Podcast by the same name, we can also have a set mind about how God talks to us and be, I believe, desensitized to other ways the Spirit talks to us. He’s always speaking, but are we always listening? God is not by any means like a natural parent although He did create us in His image. The Bible says that His ways are far higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), so stop trying to figure them out.

What Causes Desensitization?

You can read the author’s thoughts on The World Is Becoming Desensitized To Tragedy and listen to an interview on Tucker Carlson Tonight called Violent TV, Video Games behind Desensitized Culture? but I will be using the research and Lauren’s reflections to give my thoughts concerning what desensitization is:

  1. I know that Violent Video Games and Violent TV are two of the many factors . . . if not the factors to desensitization when it comes to tragedy (I say it like that because like I mentioned previously, we can also be desensitized to the Spirit’s many ways of speaking to us and not even realize it). It is okay every once and awhile to watch a video about a tragedy such as George Floyd’s, but to flood our minds with violence every day when it is unnecessary is not wise, even if it brings some sort of peace to our minds as we sleep because “I have a cop in my family,” or “I have a family have cops.” It doesn’t matter, with all due respect. We must be careful, again, concerning how much violence we watch; lest we become desensitized to tragedy. In order to do this, we must understand what are categorized as “Violent TV shows.”

Here are the shows that are categorized as “Violent TV Shows. Most of these can be found on IMDB, and the rest are from my memmory:

  1. Breaking Bad
  2. Game Of Thrones
  3. The Wire
  4. The Sopranos
  5. Fargo
  6. Rome
  7. Daredevil
  8. Oz
  9. Dexter
  10. Six Feet Under
  11. South Park
  12. Deadwood
  13. The Shield
  14. Ash vs. Evil Dead
  15. Sons Of Anarchy
  16. Vikings
  17. Boardwalk Empire
  18. Spartacus
  19. The Walking Dead
  20. Hannibal
  21. The Knick
  22. Utopia
  23. Banshee
  24. Family Guy
  25. American Horror Story
  26. Criminal Minds
  27. Bones
  28. True Blood
  29. Nip/Tuck
  30. The Strain
  31. The Following
  32. Hemlock Grove
  33. Salem
  34. From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series
  35. The Purge
  36. Law And Order: Special Victims Unit
  37. Law And Order Criminal Intent
  38. Law And Order: Organized Crime
  39. Law And Order

To summarize, any crime show . . . even if it is a documentary . . . would be a “violent TV show.” Sorry to burst your bubble. The video games are a no-brainer, so if you see your children playing any video games that are violent, you have the authority to say, “That is not allowed in this house.” Don’t let them play a game just because it makes them feel good and they really want to and are begging you, “Please, Mommy,” or “Please Daddy! I really enjoy this,” or whatever they may say. If they beg, you may have to swat them a few times (controversial, I know, but here is what the Bible says concerning the phrase, “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” which is not found in a verse in the Bible but similar statements were used). I say this because right now more than maybe . . . say . . . when they are 18-19 years old . . . they will need your instruction.

How Do We Prevent Desensitization?

This is going to sound hard, but I’m going to say it because it needs to be addressed: We all need to repent for in some way allowing violence into our lives–that is, if you aren’t someone on the front lines, such as NCIS agents, Police Officers, FBI Agents, etc. Also, if you are one of these but are off and are still allowing violence into your homes through shows you watch, this goes for you too. If we don’t need to experience the emotions that come from a violent act, we must cease from watching any TV shows or even listening to any podcasts that talk about or showcase such things (if it isn’t about the News, it doesn’t need to be watched). I want you to fast from these shows for at least a week. If the Lord leads for more, do more, but ultimately the goal is to quit these activities altogether. If you do this and ask the Lord what to replace these activities with, He may have you do such things as Crocheting, or Knitting–anything that is productive and isn’t allowing violence into your mind and causing you to become desensitized. Save your energy for when the real violence comes. Be led of the Spirit. Concerning Violent TV and video Games, the Bible says, “I have made a covenant with my eyes;

Why should I look upon a young woman?

For what is the allotment of God from above,

And the inheritance ofthe Almighty from on high?

Is it not destruction for the wicked,

And disaster for the worker of iniquity?

Does He not see my ways,

And count all my steps?” (Jeremiah 31:1-4, NKJV′. The Bible also says that everyone’s heart is laid bare–that God’s Word divides the joint from the marrow (Hebrews 4:12-13). We must turn from our wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14). It is true that some of us might lust after another, but it is even more true that the more we watch something, we are desensitized to it.

The solution, then, is this: Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own oppinions. With ALL your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go. Don’t think for a moment you know it all, for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion and avoid everything that’s wrong. Then you will find the healing refreshment your body and spirit long for (Proverbs 3:5-8, TPT, emphasis added). I want you to read daily in prayer The Quiz Concerning God’s Will, which I think is worthy to be read because it is what Jesus would have done. You may say, “Well I just try and follow the New Testament as best as I can,” and that’s good, but we MUST begin to seek the Father’s approval in everything. If you have to listen to the teaching that comes from this 55,000 times (exaggerating of course), then do whatever you have to do, but we need to start practicing this. Again: I am not advocating for you to throw common sense in the trash, but I am simply seeing what Christ would have done, and this is it! So do accordingly! God bless and please comment below as to how this helps! I am only going to be as harsh as the truth will let me, so if you are offended at this, pray about it!

By Patelin Cogswell

My name is Patelin Cogswell. I was born on September 24, 1998. I was born in Oklahoma City. I went to Oklahoma School for the Blind and graduated in 2017. I am called as a Minister of the Gospel and an Intercessor. However, this is not about me. My life is dedicated to making Christ alone. This blog was called kingdomadvance.family.blog because I didn’t want my name on the blog like others do because I feel like it is not me living but Christ living through me.

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