So much can be said about Christians and media, and truthfully a lot more has been said that needs to. Here are a couple more thoughts, largely in reference to a follow up post at Christ and Pop Culture.
Rich, thank you for interacting with my post and for some of your insightful remarks. I do wholeheartedly agree with your conclusion, and that in fact we need to dialog and encourage thoughtfulness among our people in all areas of life.
However, I do have a few objections in general:
1. I’m not advocating a media-fast or complete avoidance. Let’s interact with our people at this level, but let’s not leave them there but encourage them beyond entertainment.
2. I’m mostly speaking to sexual promiscuity on the screen. Violence and sinful attitudes can be dealt with separately. I don’t know of any men who would claim to be able to see pornography and not be tempted.
3. We are not called to balance the good with the bad. One moral theme does not redeem a raunchy movie.
4. Remember, there are always alternatives, and let’s not assume our people will always choose worse alternatives.
5. Sin on the screen in many cases is temptation to us, so willful exposure to such sin is not wise.
In the end, can our people watch whatever movies they want? Yes. I (nor any pastor at my church) am not their parent nor policeman. I will still read reviews and discuss it with them. But, I will not encourage any of my youth to attend movies that I believe will be a temptation OR desensitize them to sin (lit. seared consciences).
I appreciate the Dane’s comment and categorization, but I believe honest consideration witness to another’s sin overlaps in part with temptation to sin. Just because we can say that we’re exposed to sin every moment does not justify choosing a movie where such things are flaunted.
Finally, of course, it all comes back to the heart which is what we’re trying to change, and not merely behavior. Why do our youth want to watch these movies? Address that issue and we won’t have to tell anyone what they should and shouldn’t watch.
I’m a little tired of Christians who want not to be legalists so they defend the consumption of all sorts of media while at the same time personally not engaging in it because they realize the foolishness and disastrous effects that it may have. Honestly, if you believe something is not a good use of time then feel free to speak up but be sure to do it with love and also offer a better alternative. Movies, TV Shows, Sports, etc. are great conversation starters when getting to know people or even evangelizing, but if that is the ceiling of our interaction then we are not being faithful to the Word, no matter how much we say we’re engaging culture. And to say that there is “truth” in fiction is like saying there is “truth” in art. It is a wonderful but subjective truth that needs guidance and discussion and ultimately devoid of a Christian worldview is hollow and lacks the power of salvation.
Blog posts just don’t work for these topics, so perhaps I’ll get organized and put together a more comprehensive response over Thanksgiving.