Who Cares What Picture You See?
“Saturday night at the movies... Who cares what picture you see?”
This is a line from a well-known 1964 pop-song by a singing group called “The Drifters.”
So then, who does care what picture you see?
Here is a selection of the movie listings from last Thursday’s Victoria , British Columbia newspaper – the Times Colonist… some examples of movies we can see at our local theatres this weekend:
- Law Abiding Citizen
- Where the Wild Things Are
- Astro Boy
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- Pirate Radio
- Bright Star
- The Fourth Kind
- This is It!
- Coco Avant Chanel
- A Serious Man
- The Informant
- The Men who Stare at Goats
- An Education
- New Moon
- Couples Retreat
- Paranormal Activity
- Zombie Land
- Saw VI
- Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant
The last four or five titles are somewhat questionable; but most of the others soundharmless enough. But let us look a little closer. Let us sample a few of our provincial government censor's warnings about what we can expect to see and hear if we decide to take in one of these movies:
- Adult themes
- Explicit violence!
- Sexually suggestive scenes
- Coarse language
What do you think? Should God's people be watching such movies?
The purpose of this article is:
- To take a look at the subject of Movies… from the point of view of God’s Word
- To review and discuss the benefits of watching good movies and the disadvantages
- and even dangers – of watching bad movies…
- To offer some Bible-based guidelines to determine whether or not to watch any particular movie.
The need to judge righteously
Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right? (Luke 12:57)
God does not want me to judge you. He wants us all to judge ourselves on these things:
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? (I Corinthians 6:2-3)
God’s ministers have been given a solemn responsibility not to preach smooth things (Isaiah 30:10) and are not to be guilty of inaction as were the leaders of the Corinth congregation who were castigated by God for their failing (I Corinthians 5).
Rather, God’s ministers have a grave responsibility to “tell it like it is,” to have a proper Christian boldness, and to teach the differences between what is holy and what is unholy. Some of the things I must warn you against today are unquestionably unholy.
As I do not wish to be a hypocrite, I must practice what I preach. As I was putting this article together, I found that I too have slipped in some of these areas. So, I want you to know that I direct what I say today to myself, as well as to you.
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? –– unless indeed you are disqualified. (II Corinthians 13:5)
If we have Jesus and His Father dwelling in us, and if we are dwelling in them, should we not be examining and testing ourselves in these things? Should we not be asking ourselves whether or not we should be allowing inappropriate forms of entertainment into our homes, into our eyes, ears and minds?
Product of Satan's world
Some years ago I was assigned the task of finding a suitable movie to show at a church social. One of my first considerations – after making sure that the movie was acceptable to God – was to find a film that would please all age groups – from age 4 to age 94!
The difficulty with such an assignment is that everyone seems to have a different idea of what a "good" movie is! Our opinion often depends on our age group. And this, I believe, is quite natural and OK.
But I also found that different standards exist – yes, even among Church of God members – as to what can be considered to be morally acceptable in a movie, or what should be considered immoral or offensive.
Is this natural? Is this O.K.? I personally do not believe that it is! I believe that we all ought to be striving to be unified in living by one set of moral standards. Not my standards!... but God's timeless set of moral standards!
We are, of course, all very aware of the continuing moral deterioration of Satan’s world in which we must live, and of their huge influence even on God’s children.
The prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) and what is transmitted through his airwaves have tremendous influence on what the public wants to see and what government censors allow to be shown in movies and on T.V.
Scenes and dialogue that once would have been frowned upon and censored are now inserted without question into many regular family shows and adventure films.
Government film and T.V. censors handle the public’s lowering of standards by merely going along with them and changing a film's rating; e.g. from “Restricted” [R] to "Parental Guidance Suggested” [PG]. Please note that not one of the movies listed above is classified as Restricted or “Adult”!
In the ratings race, TV networks air more recently-made movies rather than the “good-old oldies,” which are now usually relegated to time slots in the wee hours of the morning.
If you want to get away from those annoying commercial breaks, you can easily do so, because we are now well into the age of VCRs, Pay TV, Satellite TV, Movie channels, high-resolution DVDs and incredibly versatile digital recorders.
Also, for 88 cents or less, you can rent a movie for an evening's entertainment – whether good or bad!
Many public libraries lend DVD and VHS movies to members free, at no cost at all! And many libraries have huge and up-to-date collections.
However, movie theatres are still very popular. Even though their admission prices are very high, you will have to line up around the block to see one of the newer, effectively promoted and advertised films.
Benefits and Disadvantages
What are the benefits of choosing and watching a good movie? They really are quite obvious. This might sound corny or old-fashioned to some, but a good movie should leave you feeling good, uplifted, in a positive frame of mind, and desirous to emulate the good acts and character traits of the movie’s heroes and heroines. A good movie might also leave you perhaps yearning for some of the simpler lifestyles of yesteryear – not, of course, that yesteryear was so very perfect or without its share of problems!
The disadvantages of a bad movie are similar, only in a converse, negative way. A bad movie will insert sin into the viewer's mind, to dwell on long after the conclusion. Viewers can justify vicarious participation in evil acts – perhaps with such thoughts as “It can't be that bad if it’s allowed to be shown in a movie or on T.V.”
For the two hours invested in watching a movie, we really can be subtly drawn into approving evil by identifying with such questionable heroes as Bonnie and Clyde , Rambo, Mad Max, James Bond, and G.I. Joe.
God's point of view
So again, what is a good movie? And what is a bad movie? What is God's point of view? After all, God is one who defines what is good and bad, holy and unholy, clean and unclean, pure and impure, righteousness and sin.
Of course, the Bible does not mention the subject of movies specifically, as motion-picture technology was not developed until 1891, approximately 1,800 years after the Bible writings were completed. Nevertheless, the relevant principles are all there in the scriptures, and they come through loud and clear.
From God's viewpoint, and thus from a true Christian's viewpoint, the things that make a movie bad are evident. Let us use our British Columbia Government censor's terminology, and go through some of his warnings, and see what God’s Word has to say about them:
i) Coarse language
This would include blasphemy, profanity, taking God's name in vain, swearing and foul language.
Very little detail is required on this but here is what the Son of God commands His brothers and sisters:
But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne. (Matthew 5:34)
And through His apostles, James and Paul:
But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. but let your "yes," be "yes," and your "no," "no," lest you fall into judgment. (James 5:12)
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. (Colossians 3:8)
That is what God thinks about coarse language!
ii) Adult themes and sexually suggestive scenes
can summarize this sub-group under the “immorality” banner, which would include
displays of full-frontal nudity, depictions of fornication, adultery, homosexuality, etc.
Still in Colossians 3, God warns us to put fornication and other forms of immorality to death within us. And that means within our eyes, ears and minds:
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. (Colossians 3:5-7)
In many other scriptures, God warns us to stay well away from immorality. Here are just two examples:
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality. (I Thessalonians 4:3)
Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who
commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
(I Corinthians 6:18)
That is what God thinks about immorality!
This sub-group would include murder, war, excessive fighting and bloodshed.
For the purposes of His children's education and warnings – not for entertainment purposes! – God inspired limited accounts of violent acts to be included in His written Word.
In a similar way, we can learn the futility of war from some historical movies which contain limited amounts of depicted violence (e.g. “Cromwell,” “The Battle of Britain,” “Gandhi,” “Zulu”).
But this does not excuse or condone the depiction of excessive ultra-violence as is included in so many of today's films.
The LORD tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. (Psalms 11:5)
Do you get a kick out of seeing a hero’s violent revenge being wreaked against the movie’s bad guy? Take care! God says that He hates violence… and those who love it! God is gentle and merciful. He only uses violence as a very last resort:
Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ (Ezekiel 33:11)
Jesus tells us repeatedly in Old Testament and New: Thou shalt not kill! As amplified in His “sermon on the mount,” this would include the spirit of killing which we can adopt vicariously when watching many action movies. God instructs us as princes and princesses of spiritual Israel :
Thus says the Lord GOD: "Enough, O princes of Israel! Remove violence and plundering, execute justice and righteousness. (Ezekiel 45:9)
That is what God thinks about violence!
I am not writing here about the likes of “Superman,”
“Spiderman” or “E.T.” What I am referring to is ghost, occult, sorcery,
witchcraft, vampire and demon subject matter.
Unlike most other genres, God’s people know if a movie is demon-influenced. Non-Christians might just get a spooky feeling when watching one of this type of movie. But with true Christians, God and His Holy Spirit within us will automatically and strongly react against the evil spirit.
This subject alone would take a whole series of articles to do it proper justice. It is normally best to keep discussion on such things as demons and witchcraft to an absolute minimum. But for a very good and topical reason, I need to branch off now, and to home in on it directly.
As many readers are aware, “New Moon” is the sequel to the tremendously popular vampire movie “Twilight” which took the entertainment world by storm during the past year (2008-2009) – as well as running away with the imaginations of millions of people – both young and not-so-young people!
I do not believe that this “Twilight” phenomenon is merely some harmless passing craze that will soon go away. I believe that it and its more sinister spin-offs may be something very special – in a very perverse and potentially dangerous way, of course!
Even some Church of God members have been lured into becoming ardent fans of this genre of movie and novels. But with the “Twilight” and similar movies and books of this genre, it seems that people do not just become ardent fans. It seems that they become virtually obsessed!
Am I overstating this? Is this just my own personal opinion? Judge for yourself:
A recent issue of the U.S.A. Weekend Magazine featured an article titled "Our love affair with Vampires” which the author, Brian Truitt sub-titled, "Our deep, dark obsession with vampires."
Although I am, of course, fully aware that vampires do not actually exist, please read this quote from another excellent article about the “Twilight” phenomenon: “Seven Reasons to Shun this Vampire Tale” by Berit Kjos (Also, see Note 1 at the end of this article):
Vampires “are rooted in many pagan cultures around the world. The various historical expressions of these mythical creatures were dreaded, bloodthirsty manifestations of evil spirits.”
Manifestations of evil spirits! Manifestations of demons! Vampires may not really exist, brethren, but demons certainly do!
It is likely that those demons would prefer us all to believe that they do not exist – that they would like us to lump them in with the likes of fairies and goblins, so that they might be camouflaged to the vast majority of a disbelieving public!
I strongly believe that these demons and their leader have seriously influenced the recent “Twilight” craze!
Please read these quotes from Stephenie Meyer, the author of the “Twilight” series, and see if you agree that there likely was demon influence in its origins:
I never intended to publish “Twilight.” I was merely writing for my own enjoyment. The initial idea for the “Twilight” stories came to me in a dream on June 2, 2003. The dream was about a human girl, and a vampire who was in love with her, but thirsted for her blood. Based on this dream, I wrote the transcript of what is now chapter 13 of the book. Bella and Edward were, quite literally, voices in my head! They simply wouldn't shut up. I would stay up as late as I could stand trying to get all the stuff in my mind typed out. It's been a true labour of love, love for Edward and Bella and all the rest of my imaginary friends.
And here is a quote from Robert Pattinson, the actor who plays Edward, the vampire “hero” in the “Twilight” movies:
There is something about the character that, for some reason, has sparked an interest in massive degrees in so many different people… I’m not entirely sure what it is… I’ll probably realize afterward…"
This young man does not know what forces he is dealing with! Neither does the authoress! And evidently, neither do the fans!
Here are two catch-phrases from the first “Twilight” book and movie. Many Twilight fans wear T-shirts displaying these catch-phrases:
1. The forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest.
Author Stephenie Meyer (who, by the way, is a Mormon!) says that the apple on the cover of her first book represents (i) the forbidden fruit from Genesis 2 (and 3) which is quoted at the beginning of the book and (ii) the forbidden love between the heroine and the vampire anti-hero.
2. When you can live forever, what do you live for?
This is an interesting phrase which could well be adopted as the official motto for our western world’s increasingly self-destructive “culture of death.” Please consider this relevant quote from a book called “The People of the Lie” by Dr. M. Scott Peck:
We do not have a generally accepted definition of evil. Yet in our hearts I think we all have some understanding of its nature. For the moment, I can do no better than to heed my son, who, with the characteristic vision of eight-year olds, explained simply, “Daddy, ‘evil’ is ‘live’ spelled backward.” Evil is in opposition to life. It is that which opposes the life force.
This reminds me of the words of David Grabbe in his October 31st 2009 sermonette in which he described evil as “the intent to harm life and liveliness. (See Note 2 at the end of this article).
“Twilight” enthusiasts in God’s church, I fear for you! I really do! We are all teachers-in-training for the World Tomorrow. As such, please consider God’s warning through His apostle Paul:
You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, "Do not commit adultery," do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonour God through breaking the law? (Romans 2:21-23)
I would add to these examples: “You whose professed creed is in total opposition to Satan and his demons, can you really justify being obsessed with filmed depictions of demon activity, and its veneration?” Was Paul judging the Roman brethren here? Yes, he was; but in the proper way, per I Corinthians 6:2-3. Continuing in verse 24 of Romans 2:
For "the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you," as it is written
Do any of us want to be responsible for God’s name being blasphemed? Do any of us want spiritual Gentiles or fellow spiritual Israelites to say, “Look at what these people are into? What a bunch of hypocrites!”? Surely not! Should we not all have a proper kind of pride for the church groups God has blessed us to have a part in. Should we not all be taking great care not to blacken their good name?
Some stern warnings
I want to give another stern warning for our members to avoid this genre like the plague! Even more so! It is very, very dangerous! Please do not think that I am saying all this to be a spoil-sport or a kill-joy. I am not. I am warning you of these things because I care about you and I care about God’s name and the good name of His church.
I know whereof I speak… because I’ve “been there – done that!” While still in my teens, under peer-pressure, I made the truly dumb mistake of reading an occult thriller novel called “The Devil Rides Out” by Dennis Wheatley. It was the in-thing-to-do at that time! But the result was that I was terrified for the longest time afterwards – especially at night-time! Some of my friends “progressed” a few stages further and messed around with ouija boards and spiritualism, thinking that it was “just fun.” Soon, they couldn’t understand why bizarre things started happening in their lives and why they were unable to sleep without their bedroom lights on.
I can almost guarantee that, if you “Twilight” disciples do not tear yourselves away from your dangerous obsession very soon, you too will likely “progress” to heavier, scarier and more dangerous material (similar to what happens in alcohol and drug addiction) if you have not done so already!
“Twilight” and other vampire, sorcery and witchcraft series are nothing less than sugar-coated stories of demonism! And Satan has them sugar-coated for a reason! Parents, please take note! The prime targets for this genre are our young people. Please heed this quote from “The Marketing of Evil” by David Kupelian:
Giant corporations voraciously competing for America’s $150 billion teen market routinely infiltrate young people’s social groups with undercover “culture spies” to find out how better to lead children into ever more debauched forms of “authentic self-expression.
“Twilight” and its genre are just parts of the thin end of Satan’s wedge which, believe it or not, started with “The Count” in Sesame Street, and grew ever-so-craftily with the “Count Chocula” and other monster-themed children’s breakfast cereals, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Scooby-Doo, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and her Scooby Gang, the Ghostbusters, and the Phantom of the Opera.
“Oh, come on!” you might be thinking, “This is only fantasy; these are only harmless cartoons, comedy and musical theatre!” Am I exaggerating? Am I overstating this problem? No, I am not!
Believe me; if some of God’s people are so easily deceived now into following these kinds of sugar-coated, relatively borderline temptations, what will happen when the Beast, super-empowered by Satan, lures “all the world” to worship them? (Revelation 13 and 17). And what will happen when Satan gushes out his deluge of filthy spiritual water after the woman of Revelation 12? How many of God’s people will be deceived and sucked into the vortex of Satan’s whirlpool then?
Resist the devil!
The English have an old saying, "Speak of the devil, and here he comes!" There is actually some truth to this! If you Twilighters strike-up a relationship with Satan and/or his demons, believe me, they will be more than happy to accept your invitation!
Through James, God advises the very opposite of that old English saying:
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
It should be plain and obvious to God's people that we must avoid this type of movie, literature, TV show and video game – like the plague – literally!
that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not
to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink
the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.
(I Corinthians 10:20-21)
I fully realize that you fans of “Twilight” (and the like) are free moral agents, and that you have liberty to do as you wish. Neither I, nor other members who are very concerned about this dangerous trend, have any control in what you choose to do. But if you insist on using your Christian liberty in order to enjoy darkness, then God will give you darkness!:
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed… For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment… then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self–willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries… But these… speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you… They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness… These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever… While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. (II Peter 2:1-2, 4, 9-10, 12, 15, 17, 19-21)
Another word regarding the improper use of Christian liberty: This trend is causing a stumbling-block for some of our members:
I Corinthians 8:9
But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to those who are weak.
Is not the advisable and loving, Christian thing to do to err on safe side?
Once again, am I going overboard with
this opinion? Some of you might reason, “Hey, I am not committing these sins
just by occasionally watching their acted portrayals in movies or on T.V.”
But Jesus answers this argument in His well-known “Sermon on the Mount” where He explains the mental and spiritual attitudes behind the verbal and physical acts of swearing, revenge, violence, murder, war and immorality.
He also tells us, again through Paul, what kinds of things we should not be allowing into our minds. These are His stern warnings:
But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather give thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light… Find out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeem the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:3-8, 11-17)
Here is a repetition for emphasis! Find out what God’s will is on these things… and do it! Brethren, these are not my warnings… or even Paul’s warnings. These are God’s warnings!
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy––meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
It might be a good idea for us to make signs quoting Philippians 4:8 and mount them on top of our TV sets, to remind us of God's standards, every time we switch them on!
Based on Philippians 4, here are a few additional guidelines for choosing and watching movies:
i) Remember that this is Satan's world; so, sadly, very few of its movies are completely free of swearing, violence, etc. So, if we reject every movie that is not absolutely 100% pure, we will reject most of them, incl. some that might be very worthwhile for the most part.
ii) Here are five immediate clues to a movie's suitability for viewing by God's people that can be obtained from your newspaper's movie listings:
The classification: e.g. General [G], Parental Guidance [PG], Mature [M], Restricted [R], etc. These might vary in different provinces, states and countries; but you can quickly and easily find out what each means. Most TV programs now have classifications too
Government censor's warnings (e.g. Frequent gory violence)
The still pictures on the movie’s ad
The comments published (usually weekly) by the newspaper’s movie or entertainment critic
If we apply these clues to the movie listings we read earlier, there are only four that a Christian family could safely watch! Yet even these clues can be deceptive! Some years ago, when our daughters were younger, my wife and I took them to see “The Care Bears Movie.” Now, how harmless could a movie be with all those cute, pastel-coloured, fluffy little bears? Believe it or not, it turned out to be story of a battle between the Care Bears and a demon that had possessed a young boy!
iii) The movie should not promote, glorify or condone war, violence, demon-contact, immorality or other sins.
iv) When renting, if possible, preview and edit the movie for family viewing. If a preview is not possible, watch very carefully, and fast-forward as necessary. If you find yourself doing too much editing or fast-forwarding, then hit the stop-button and watch something else! Even relatively “good” movies may need some editing or fast-forwarding. An example of this would be the two violent scenes in the otherwise excellent “Oliver” musical.
v) Without apology, parents should strictly control their family’s TV habits. Do not allow your children to sit for hours, unsupervised, watching anything that takes their fancy. If your family likes to watch a substantial amount of TV, then buy a TV Guide each week, and plan in advance what your family can watch.
vi) Beware of channel-flipping! You’ll see things you’ll wish you hadn’t!
vii) Beware Pay-TV movies. They are expensive, but are often cheaply-made and
are probably mostly unacceptable viewing for a Christian family.
viii) Some good movie categories might include (and these are not necessarily all appropriate viewing for all age-groups): Bible or Bible-based stories (despite their inaccuracies which can be good points for family discussion or Bible study): e.g. The Ten Commandments Stories from classical literature: e.g. Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, Little Women, the Anne of Green Gables series, Little Princess, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Around the World in Eighty Days, Les Miserables, Ben Hur, The Scarlet Letter Stories with good morals or messages: e.g. Pay it Forward, The Ultimate Gift, The Man from Snowy River Non-fiction documentaries. e.g. The National Geographic series and most (but not all) giant screen IMAX and OMNIMAX films Historical or biographical films. e.g. Thirteen Days, The Sound of Music, Cromwell, Young Winston, Zulu, and Apollo 13. Some of these contain war scenes, but do not glorify war Older classic comedies and some (but not all) Disney movies. Beware of newer comedy films and re-makes of oldies, because so much of today's comedy is crass!
ix) Ask yourself, "Would I watch this if Jesus was sitting here with
me?" We have sometimes ridiculed the “What would Jesus do?” concept; but
it is very valid in this case. Please think about it! If Jesus and His Father
are in us and we are in them, then it follows that they see and hear
what we see and hear! Should we be allowing garbage into the temples of God’s Holy Spirit? This is the message which we have heard from Him and
declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say
that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not
practice the truth. (I John 1:5-6) Spiritual light and spiritual darkness
are total opposites! They are totally incompatible! Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing
is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true
light is already shining. (I John 2:8) x) If in doubt, switch off! If you’re in a movie theatre, get up and leave! Don’t worry what the people sitting around you might think! Be more concerned about what God thinks! There are lots of better pass-times available. Go bowling! Or go for an ice-cream! Most of the concepts we have covered in this article can also be applied to standards in TV, live theatre, literature, video games and music. To summarize, in this article, we have: - Examined movies from God's point of view, So, once again… Saturday Night at the Movies… Who cares what picture you see? Someone does care! God cares! And so must we! Footnotes: Note 1: Seven Reasons to Shun this Vampire Tale: Note 2: The Fear of the Lord is to Hate Evil… Sermonette by David Grabbe : Note 3: Twilight on the Land: Note 4: The Rising Darkness in Children’sGames: Note 5: Dangers of Rock Music Video channels:
- Discussed what makes a movie good or bad in God's eyes,
- Discussed the benefits of good movies,
- Discussed the dangers and disadvantages of bad movies,
- Looked at some guidelines for choosing and watching movies.
United Church of God (UCG) warning article:
vii) Beware Pay-TV movies. They are expensive, but are often cheaply-made and are probably mostly unacceptable viewing for a Christian family.
viii) Some good movie categories might include (and these are not necessarily all appropriate viewing for all age-groups):
Bible or Bible-based stories (despite their inaccuracies which can be good points for family discussion or Bible study): e.g. The Ten Commandments
Stories from classical literature: e.g. Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, Little Women, the Anne of Green Gables series, Little Princess, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Around the World in Eighty Days, Les Miserables, Ben Hur, The Scarlet Letter
Stories with good morals or messages: e.g. Pay it Forward, The Ultimate Gift, The Man from Snowy River
Non-fiction documentaries. e.g. The National Geographic series and most (but not all) giant screen IMAX and OMNIMAX films
Historical or biographical films. e.g. Thirteen Days, The Sound of Music, Cromwell, Young Winston, Zulu, and Apollo 13. Some of these contain war scenes, but do not glorify war
Older classic comedies and some (but not all) Disney movies. Beware of newer comedy films and re-makes of oldies, because so much of today's comedy is crass!
ix) Ask yourself, "Would I watch this if Jesus was sitting here with me?" We have sometimes ridiculed the “What would Jesus do?” concept; but it is very valid in this case. Please think about it! If Jesus and His Father are in us and we are in them, then it follows that they see and hear what we see and hear! Should we be allowing garbage into the temples of God’s Holy Spirit?
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (I John 1:5-6)
Spiritual light and spiritual darkness are total opposites! They are totally incompatible!
Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. (I John 2:8)
x) If in doubt, switch off! If you’re in a movie theatre, get up and leave! Don’t worry what the people sitting around you might think! Be more concerned about what God thinks! There are lots of better pass-times available. Go bowling! Or go for an ice-cream!
Most of the concepts we have covered in this article can also be applied to standards in TV, live theatre, literature, video games and music.
To summarize, in this article, we have:
- Examined movies from God's point of view,
So, once again… Saturday Night at the Movies… Who cares what picture you see? Someone does care! God cares! And so must we!
Note 1: Seven Reasons to Shun this Vampire Tale:
Note 2: The Fear of the Lord is to Hate Evil… Sermonette by David Grabbe :
Note 3: Twilight on the Land:
Note 4: The Rising Darkness in Children’sGames:
Note 5: Dangers of Rock Music Video channels: