There’s no doubt about it: movies are here to stay. (I know, brilliant revelation.) Should Christians be free to see any movie they want to, even if it extols sin in its various forms (murder, adultery, fornication, gossip, theft, and the like)?
Here are a few thoughts from a chronic moviegoer who happens to also be a Lutheran pastor:
- Not everything that appears evil is evil, and not everything that says “Christian” is Christian. When we talk about movies (or TV, music, etc.), we are forced to make judgments. It is very possible for a clearly secular movie (e.g. The Shawshank Redemption) to have brilliant insights into the nature of sin and redemption. In the same vein, movies that have a “Christian” theme (e.g. Left Behind) could actually be quite destructive to the faith.
- What is my reason for going? If you are going to a movie to become, uh, aroused, or encourage theft or violence or unbelief, then obviously you have some serious thinking to do. Having said that, no ones motivations for anything are entirely pure, so I wouldn’t get completely bent over this one, either.
- Entertainment is good. God loves for us to use our imaginations, to enjoy His creation, and to learn from our fellow man about human nature and what that means for us sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. But like anything, entertainment can easily become a god in itself, and take away from the callings (vocations) where God has placed us.
- Movies can give us an insight into our culture. While we may go to a movie for entertainment purposes, they can also give us a deep insight into our culture. It doesn’t take much discernment to figure out that movies today have a lot more spiritual and other-worldliness about them than they did 10-20 years ago. We can learn about the pop spirituality of our culture by movies, as well as by books, TV and other venues.
So the bottom line is this: Movies are not by definition devil spawn. Some are good; some are bad. Some may be destructive and hurtful; others may draw you into who you are as a child of God. But they do require wisdom. And part of wisdom is asking people with a firm faith whom you trust.
Live long and prosper,
Pr. Peperkorn, aka