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R Rated Movies and Me

May 18, 2010

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:8-9 (New Living Translation)

Just been massively challenged by an article by Jonathan Acuff in the Relevant Mag. Online which exposed the idea that it is ok for Christians to watch R rated movies that involve excessive violence but not R rated movies that involve sexual themes.  Clearly watching sexual themed R rated movies is completely inappropriate but why is violence, gore, some sexually oriented nudity and drug abuse ok?

Doing a bit of research I discovered that in a survey back in 2005 that 25% of “very religious” Christians have seen movies rated R for their sexual content, compared to 33 percent of the “nonreligious”.  And that 19% of the “very religious” watched movies rated R for their violent content, compared to 28 percent of the “nonreligious”.

So when I go and watch an R rated movie, what affect is it having on me?  On my faith?  After many years of watching such movies I have somewhat become desensitised to the violence, and yet…  I know it is affecting me deep down, subtly subverting my Christian world view.   As a Christian I should be appalled by the idea of drug use, of people being brutally murdered and yet I remain in the cinema watching it, enjoying the ‘entertainment’.

And then I came across another challenging article by Cole NeSmith again in the Relevant Mag. Online called, ‘The Dangers of Emotional Pornography’  NeSmith states:

There’s certainly a war against the prevalence of visual pornography in many corners of our society—especially in the Christian culture. There is an attempt to expose pornography for its promotion of unrealistic sexual expectations and exploitation of human sexuality. And that attempt is a very necessary one.

But what about the unhealthy emotional and relational expectations portrayed in so much of our media? Is there really much of a difference in the hyperbolized sexual imagery of typical pornography and the hyperbolized momentary emotional high felt in a romance film or romantic comedy that sends us looking for a “love” that doesn’t exist? (hyperbolized means to exaggerate)

NeSmith shares that we can find ourselves drawn into the false reality of a romantic movie which gives us unrealistic expectations in our own lives.  He suggests that we need to be more thoughtful about what we choose to watch and allow ourselves to think about.

The amazing Philippians reading states:  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. It goes on to say Keep putting into practice all you learned. And this is the ultimate challenge for me: not just to supportively nod when I read or hear Christian teaching, but to action it.  I cannot just hear the Word of God I need to put it into practice, I need to live my life actively as a Christian.

So is it right to watch an R rated movie?  Well building on what NeSmith offered about guarding ourselves against developing unrealistic emotional expectations, I need to go in with my eyes open and my Bible open.

Eyes open, being thoughtful about what I expose myself to; and my Bible open, regular Bible reading so that my thinking is transformed to the point where such decisions become more natural.

God bless,

Mark
http://www.facebook.com/MarkBrown.page
http://twitter.com/RevMarkB

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92 Comments
  1. I just want to ask God for forgiveness. I’m sorry. And Remorseful.

  2. I don’t think there are rules here… what has a negative effect on one person hardly touches another. The fact that society’s morals can have a negative effect on Christians does not mean we should withdraw from society but we should be aware and listening to the Spirit at every moment as we engage; not easy to discipline oneself to do!

    • Kathy permalink

      It probably affects you more than you’re aware of – and no one is suggesting “we should withdraw from society.” Some people don’t go to movies at all. They are not withdrawn from society; they simply don’t go to movies.

    • Brenda permalink

      I’ve just read some of the messages about R rated movies. I am a Christian without a church, but even before I left church 3 years I felt alone in my walk. I couldn’t believe how many professing Christians watched movies that were full of people acting out sins, and in some cases committing those sins while they acted, that Christ died for, even paying to watch these acts, as well as other worldly choices that people in church were making. And this, being people in the “leadership” of the church. I was more of a joke in their eyes. But I wept when I read several of the messages, and I now know that there are many men and women who understand that we are responsible to guard our mines. I memorized Phil. 4:8 a long time ago, and I haven’t thought of if for a while now. But I will think on this verse today, and try to everyday. Thank you for the encouragement, I needed it!!

  3. Good morning Mark,These are very good thoughts ,My Husband Has PTSD from his time in Vietnam.He will not watch anything but war movies and I think this makes him worse.My Mother use to tell us kids growing up,”If you put garbage in ,garbage will come out”.this is still true now and I do try to guard my mind and thoughts,But it is not always easy.Thank you for your reflections each day and God Bless

  4. sheryl permalink

    I don’t understand why Jonathan Acuffs article, he thinks violence movies is ok, but sexuality not, I don’t see the difference. Both are equal in my opinion. Actually I think the violence movies are worse!

  5. Brian permalink

    Passion of Christ. Rated “R”

    • priscilla w. permalink

      wow….you went there. The world put a rating on that….That was a REALity that my Saviour Jesus…who paid for the sins of the world went through!! If your a believer, follower and lover of Jesus Christ….i cannot believe you did that. What was your point……that dosnt make me mad…that makes me sad. WoW! 😦

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      I was thinking the same thing about Passion of Christ. There is a difference from one movie to another regarding violence. So many movies portray violence for the sake of violence. It is gratuitous and in there just to sell tickets, not because it is part of the story. Other movies include violence because that is a very real part of the story that needs to be told. I believe that Passion of Christ and Finding Private Ryan are examples of the latter category. This is just my opinion and recognize others may believe differently. The Bible is filled with violence. It is part of the story.

      Sexuality is also part of the human and Biblical story. There is a difference between gratuitous sexual scenes and telling a story that includes sexuality. Older films used innuendo very effectively, ex. a cigarette burning in an ashtray. It really bothers me in movies and TV shows when the men are fully dressed in warm clothing and the woman is in some skimpy outfit. Outrageous and degrading. Sexuality is a gift from God to be treasured and cherished, not exploited. I always wonder why we do not see James Bond being treated for all of the STDs he must surely have contracted over the years.

  6. sharon permalink

    I agree with Mike…. I really dislike it when my belief turn into a propoganda of rules to follow. I know the difference between right and wrong. Some rated R movies are rated that becuase they are depicting peoples true lives. True lives are not generally rated G or PG they are real. Reality of this world to me is something I want to know about and be aware of so that I am not walking around in a bubble. People do not relate with that at all and I don’t beilive I would affect people if I were like that. I am not saying I watch all rated R movies I am saying that I choose what I watch on the basis of things much different than a rating.

    • Kathy permalink

      Wow! Sharon, if your personal life is rated R, I feel sorry for you! My life is pretty much G all the time. Peace and quiet.

      • Sister Pam OP permalink

        Unfortunately, Kathy, many people do live R rated lives and not always through their choosing. 1 of 3 women are victims of relationship violence or sexually assaulted. This is not a choice. Many people live in war zones or are persecuted for their faith.

  7. Rosalyn permalink

    I dont think it matters what you watch or the rating of it as long as you still have faith at the end of the film it shouldnt matter the content in the movie

    • Walt permalink

      I try not to watch anything that I wouldn’t watch with Jesus if he was in my home.

  8. Jev permalink

    Your articles are so awesome and helpful. It challenges me in terms of living a christian life 🙂

  9. Leib permalink

    your walk is different from my walk. Mine is different than the next guy’s, but everything boils down to one simple truth… Jesus would not watch R rated movies chock full of violence and sex, and if we are made in the image of Christ and are to pursue Him and become more like Him, and if we have seen Him we have seen the Father, then that should be something to think about ❤

  10. LYNN SICARD permalink

    I USED TO WATCH ALL KINDS OF MOVIESITH MY HUSBAND FILLED WIT SEX,VIOLENCE, AND BAD LANGUE. BUT AS I GREW CLOSER TO THE LORD IT STARTED BOTHERING ME TO WATCH THESE MOVIES. I COULD NO LONGER EVEN STAY IN THE NEXT ROOM AND LISTEN TO THE SWEARING. I VERY SELDOM WATCH MOVIES NOW BECAUSE OF THE CONTENT IN THEM. I’VE MANAGED TO GET SOME CLASSICS LIKE BEN HUR, SPARTICUS, AFRICAN QUEEN, AND EL CID. I ALSO OWN A LOT OF THE DISNEY MOVIES AND OTHERS LIKE THE YEARLING, AND WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. I GO LOOKING FOR MOVIES LIKE THESE AT YARD SALES, SECOND HAND STORES, AND IN THE PREVIEWED SECTION OF THE VIDEO STORES.THERE,S BEEN A LOT LESS GARBAGE GOING IN AND A LOT LESS GARBAGE COMING OUT PRAISE GOD. ANOTHER THING I HAVE CHANGED IS THE MUSIC I LISTEN TO. GONE ARE THE SONGS THAT TALK ABOUT GETTING STONED, OR HAVING SEX,OR DRINKING. IT’S MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE IN ME, AND IN MY MINDSET AND ESPECIALLY IN MY WALK WITH GOD. GOD DIDN’T TELL ME TO GET THAT STUFF OUT OF MY LIFE OR INSIST THAT I GIVE IT UP JUST LIKE HE NEVER PUSHED ME TO QUIT SMOKING. HE JUST LET ME KNOW HE DIDN’T LIKE IT AND STEPPED BACK TIL I WAS READY TO GIVE IT UP ON MY OWN. AND YES, THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES TO OUR ACTIONS. BECAUSE I CHOSE TO SMOKE SO MUCH,AND FOR SO LONG I AM NOW ON OXYGEN 24/7. BUT GOD STILL LOVES ME AND WATCHES OVER ME .THANK YOU GOD.

    • priscilla w. permalink

      YEAH….that’s what happens….God changes us from the inside out!! WE LONG for him…love him…and we do ANYTHING we can that we imagine that will make HIM happy. Not what can we do for ourselves….it’s NOT about us…it’s about God…and it was THROUGH his only begotten Son…Jesus Chirst. He did not die in vain….I accepted what Jesus did…for ME….and i will do what i can….for him! i love him sooo!

    • Jennifer permalink

      I really, really love your reply. You hit it exactly on the head. 100% truth. Thank you.

  11. David permalink

    I was just thinking about this verse the other day. It really limits the thoughts in any movie or secular scene.

  12. go to http://vigilantcitizen.com
    there are many articles on music movies and more…you will be in shock as to how many Christians watch this stuff and listen to this music…

  13. Chisanga permalink

    Interesting thoughts and i guess philippians does set the path that we must consciously follow. I collect dvds and, as a guy, like action movies. But i do deplore violence for the ‘sake of it’, however i do have probably become desensitized to it too. So should we watch R rated movies? Probably we must be more selective. We must guard what we continuously expose our ‘open minds’ to. i used to love ‘hip hop’ music but the trend in main stream hip hop has been to rap about violence, sex, drugs and guns. Similarly, i do watch a lot a movies but overt and visually exploitative sex and violence plus language ( e.g, quentin tarentino etc) is not on my thing. it offends my inner self and i guess we must be sensitive to what our inner voice feel and says… we probably offend the holy spirit MOST by ignoring his leading…

  14. Rick permalink

    As we keep our eyes focused on the Lord, this message is a great daily guide.

  15. James permalink

    I feel the same about R rated movies and I have also posted the same topic a couple of weeks ago on facebook, I feel that if we allow the enemy to comfort us in watching these types of movies just think of the many other ways you will bow down to because you feel it is ok to engage in such confusion. I ask this question to everyone, Would your pastor/minister/deacon or reverend allow you to watch such movies at church? If you are convicted by what I have asked then you already know you need to remove these types of things from your christian walk! There is never ANY confusion about the word of GOD! We all know who is the author of confusion!

    • Pat DeFeo permalink

      I will say Amen to so many of these good and godly comments. The “enemy ” will use any means he can to pull us down and we are only fooling ourselves when we say violence and promiscuous sex doesn’t affect us as Christians. As one person wrote garbage in garbage out! The more you watch garbage the more you want garbage. We always need to ask ourselves “what would Jesus do”. Or “Would Jesus approve of this”? Our feelings don’t enter into it. God’s Word is the only Truth we need to live by! Don’t let the “enemy” get a foot hold because if you do soon he will own your whole being, body mind and soul.

  16. Sandy Cheeks permalink

    Wow this was a great message because I oten think about it.. I amost never watch TV because of the messages in it.. its funny because the romance movies had me thinking that I can find something like it but now I know it doesn’t exist.. Thanks and GOD Bless! LOVE YOU LORD!!!!!!!

  17. Tracie A. permalink

    I want to thank you for posting these types of articles. I share them every time I see them, regardless of the topic, because I know it’s something the world needs to hear. It enlightens and encourages me as well. Keep them coming 🙂

  18. Debbie Roley permalink

    I believe it’s wrong. The eyes are the lamp of the body and if we take in darkness, our whole body becomes dark. Jesus took all sin on Himself and took it to the cross. We give our money to feast on what He died for and call it entertainment. There’s no justifying it, it’s wrong. Were is our peace? We give it up watching all the sex & gore. I think that is a heavy price. I’ll take the peace.

  19. David K. permalink

    There may be an exception or two, but I agree that Christians should not be watching R-rated movies. Actually, much of the PG-13 stuff is unsuitable as well. We rarely only go to movies that have not been positively reviewed by pluggedin.com or parentstv.org — and we watch DVDs a lot more than the current TV fare.

  20. Yolanda permalink

    I am picky about the movies we watch – but I don’t just look at the rating. I think many PG-13 are worse than some R. I have found some R movies that are a must watch with my boys as they were teens; The Patriot, Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List. Yes, they are violent, but war is violent, ugly and real. But the lessons of heroism and self sacrifice are wonderful in these movies and worth watching.

  21. Heather permalink

    Secular society has come into christians lives so strong today. Too many christians have the “spiritual filter” mentality. Well I hate to be so blunt but WAKEUP christians! You cannot take in trash and expect for God to want to reside in your unclean temple. Even the best of christians will fall short, why would you want to tempt yourselves regularly and allow the possibility of more sin into your lives? So many people want to fight and say oh no not me I’m ok to watch ABC R rated movie…..or I can listen to XYZ music…..but I say it is your flesh fighting the holy spirit talking ! If everyone spent more time in their Bibles they would learn more about what God wants from us. If we truly paused then maybe we would take the time to ask ourselves…..Does this film or music honor God? Would I be pleased to sit next to Jesus and watch it without being uncomfortable? I challenge every christian to put themselves in a seat next to the Lord the next time you sit down for a movie! The truth is God is with us always, will he damn you for watching trash????Maybe not but will he be pleased that in your free time you chose to watch it….I doubt it! Live your life as we were called, be different then the world, because if you are not different then how do you expect to bring others to the Lord? When they see you are no different then them? As you come before the Lord more and more each day, you will have an amazing transformation, you will want to please him, you will live for him, and honor him with your actions, pick up your bible, just having a fish on your car and saying that you are christian doesn’t make you right with God. He wants your relationship with him. A little hard I know but the “church” needs a shaking and what better time to start. Thanks Mark once again for a thought provoking start to our day!

    • Kathy permalink

      Amen, Heather! Preach it! I totally agree with you!

  22. Judith Jackson permalink

    I do not believe a real true Christian will be entertained by R-rated and
    X-rated movies, therefore I don’t think they will be watching such trash.

  23. Sheryl Wallace permalink

    I give praise to Father for all things. 6 years ago our family withdrew from viewing television, as a “pastime.” His grace enabled us to refrain from worldly influence that is so destructive on so many levels. Our two sons, ages 19 and 13, are strong in their walk, respected by their peers, and are fine examples of Phillipians 4:8 in that they have benefited from God’s Word in greater proportion, rather than the views of detrimental entertainment. God recieves all the glory for their lives in Him.

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      Good for you, Sheryl. We did the same thing last month. No TV and we do not miss it.

  24. Sharon permalink

    WWJD When deciding what movies (if any) to watch we can fall back on the “what would Jesus do?” question. Is it a movie you think that Jesus would watch? Is it a movie that you would be comfortable watching with Jesus? Is it a movie you want to be watching when Jesus returns? You know if you have Jesus in your heart He is watching everything you watch. He goes everywhere you go. He sees everything you see.
    Being a Christian is to be Christ like, so we can analyze, compromize, justify all we want but it all boils down to WWJD

  25. seanrichrussell permalink

    If you really research who runs Hollywood if your heart is truly towards GOD you would see it does not line up with the WORD OF GOD (which is in itself truth).Are we not separate from this world, a peculiar treasure and all the other things that GOD called us? Then why do we become part of the very world that is corrupt and full of sin.Screen writers, Satanist and movie stars the same people who make movies don’t watch TV or allow their kids to, then why should we.
    Just to add they don’t even like the people who watch their movies they actually look down on you to the point where they even hate us( Christian and Non christian)

  26. Adedigba Kayode permalink

    The bible says “it is from the abundance of heart the mouth speak…..” and I believe what one see and hear will occupy ones heart. Thank you for sharing this with people.

  27. Efstahia Goldstein permalink

    Decensitization is the word in question. You hit it on the nail with “think on these things…”. We need to be careful what we allow in. We are exposed ~enough~ with what gets in our heads unconciously. I want to praise Jesus now….my daughter goes to private school and she was expressing her discomfort regarding a reading assignment where the theme was babies coming back to life and haunting people. Spirit of God…move us…especially our kids…protect their minds Father God….when we cant Lord. Thank you that you watch over your children. … for you are the God that sees us. In Christ

  28. I agree with Brian; good post and yet it’s so much up to the individual how much you let yourself be influenced by what you watch. Considering the frequency of watching violent movies, can effect your everyday life!
    But God can give us the strength, the guidance and the wisdom to filter what is good for a christian life, for serving those around us and serving as His witnesses on this earth.

  29. Cathy permalink

    1 Thessalonians 5:22 – Abstain from ALL appearance of evil. I don’t believe that a TRUE Christian, filled with the Holy Spirit, should be “entertained” by R rated movies or anything on TV in books or magazines or any other media that portrays any resemblence of sin. If the Holy Spirit lives within you, you should not even be able to partake of such things without conviction.

  30. Steve Gill permalink

    Finally, a subject that I can sink my “Godly” Love into. I love to read the comments on all the subjects, but since I am a “Film Maker” of sorts, this subject finds me in a perfect place to be a witness, rather than be witnessed to. I tell you the truth brothers and sisters, the world can make many things sound very reasonable, but don’t think for a second that God isn’t asking YOU to make a choice about your actions every second of the day.
    Witness One (I give all the glory to God)…. I was working for a Local TV station and the station manager asked me to “Write and Produce” a promotion for a news story in a certain SHOCKING format. After some investigation on my own, I found out that the story was quite harmless and any promotion that said “We will shock you” would be unethical and untrue. I quit the job after the General Manager said I would have to write it her way…. or else.
    Witness Two – One day about 7 or 8 years ago, a advertising client walked into to my company and asked if I would produce a commercial promoting a “Late Night Dating” program. After starting to do it the Holy Spirit showed me that the whole picture of the commercial was a manipulative tool for those who were lonely. I immediately new that being involved in the producing of such junk was not PURE and TRUE to my walk with Christ.
    OK… so here is the point. Two weeks ago, my family didn’t have enough money to pay our television bill. So my wife and I decided that we didn’t need TV anymore and we cancelled it. Oh my gosh…. so much good has come from that decision. My children are reading more. We are making education decisions about what movies we are going to watch as a family and there’s more smiling and laughter going on in my home.
    Satan uses this kind of stuff as very easy ways to get at Christians. We need to be more disciplined. The Lord has shown me that “I need to Love him in everything I do” …. We are not strong to take on these battles that give our flesh more than they can handle. It doesn’t mean we have to be bored either. Pull out a game of Cards and bring the family together. Play a board game. Throw darts. Kick a ball around with your son or daughter. We have lots we can do to fill time. Love to all….. Peace to all. God Bless each and every one of you in your temporary walk on this earth. I’ll see you in heaven if I don’t see you before. Your brother… Steve

  31. Will permalink

    Knowing right from wrong in an essential in your Christian walk, and I do believe we as believers should watch what we let into out spirits “the eyes and ears are windows to the soul”. As I watch and listen to certain thing something in my spirit will always alert my consciousness and there the choice is presented to disengage myself from what ever it is. One comment stated that rarely the depictions of real life rated to anything but an R ratings. There are stories out there that although there is violence, sex, drugs and other suggestive situations they end up having meaning and some sort of moral can be taken away from it. To categorize it as just “R” rated movies is too general and shouldn’t be put into the law of ones Christian life. We are all different and from different backgrounds and up brining. Some of us weren’t as fortunate as others to have lived from the reality of these things depicted in some of those films. Lastly, not to compare but the bible is filled with most of the same content and has moral value just as “some” of the films we are talking about.

  32. Thank you Mark. I often wonder why some of our Christian friends are saying they’ve seen xyz movies. It seems hypocritical. Not that we haven’t watched things that we shouldn’t have and we have become a little lax lately but I have been feeling convicted that we really need to guard our eyes. I am often asked why we only listen to Christian music. I find that somewhat baffling. Because I don’t want to listen to sexually explicit music and I do NOT want my children repeating it! That seems like a no brainer to me.

  33. reginald permalink

    Mike you claim that what has an affect on one person has no effect on another. that is so far off base. study psychology and you will see that everyone is effected by what they watch. we are desensitized to violence and other things every single day and we wonder why someone can be killed in the middle of NY and there are no witness’. the main reason is those who saw it closed their eyes to it and just moved on.

  34. Lucia permalink

    There has to be a difference between a Christian and a person who has not yet received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. If we, as Christians, keep doing the same thing the rest of the world is doing, then how can we minister to them to bring them to Christ. I think you have so many pastors who want to be politically correct and not address these issues happening in the church. What did Nathan say to David when he sinned; that he give the enemy the opportunity to blaspheme God. Isn’t that what we are doing?

  35. Pearl Watson permalink

    This really got my attention as I am thinking about these same issues, not only in movies and TV, but in the books I read. I have put away the Sci-Fi and Fantasy book that take away from God and show sexual immorality as all right and started reading more Christian Fiction books. But what about my TV and movie watching? Even animated movies have violence in them of some sort. Even children’s fairy tales are violent in nature, just think of stories like the 3 little pigs, Red Riding Hood, etc. They all have violence in them to some degree or other. It’s impossible to turn on your TV without being bombarded with sexual imagery. Newspapers and magazines are filled with it, even the Bible has violence in it. We have to face the facts that as long as we are human, we are violent and violence is all around us and we can not escape it. The question should be, what KIND of violence will we let into our minds. Is it going to desensitize us further, causing us to not be moved by seeing people ripped apart? Or is it a less graphic violence? I think this is a question that I am going to have to pray long and hard about, truly seeking God’s will on this, being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

  36. Tim permalink

    I grew up watching rated R movies since around age 10. My dad was a pastor of a church. I can see the difference in the two types of movies and why and why not they are bad for you as a Christian following God. As a Christian I make it a point to raise my kids the way that God would want me to and in so I will not let them watch the R rated movies and at the same time as a parent I will not let them watch rated R, PG 13 or Disney. My son watched Disney shows all day and then picked up on what they say and do in the show. He started giving attitude and disobeying what I would instruct him to do and pass blame on the show thinking cause they do it it is okay. If you choose to watch R movies and shows use your judgement and understand that your action speak louder than you Faith does. If you could not watch something with God sitting next to you then don’t watch it. If you feel shame about it then don’t do it.

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      I agree completely, Tim. I watched Disney channel with my granddaughter while she was growing up. I was shocked. It was not at all healthy programing. My son agreed and said no more Disney Channel.

  37. Glenn Sprague permalink

    If you simply need to fulfill your movie fix there’s always this:
    https://www.clearplay.com/

  38. Laura permalink

    Forgive me, but I don’t think watching rated R movies is a bad thing all the time, I think it depends more on the movie it self then the “rating” Since some PG 13 movies are not good either! I would focus more on why its rated R, because like someone said the Passion of Christ was rated R.

  39. Larry permalink

    Mark,

    I agree “R” rated stuff can edge in there and create a divide between the viewer and their loved ones. The action flicks that I prefer at times have some sexual undertones.
    The movie industry has been pushing the “R” towards “X”
    in the past decade. What was shocking ten years ago is considered normal today to many.
    Therein lies the problem.
    Larry

  40. Very interesting observation. I have burdened my own heart with many temptations that God’s word says to avoid. As a huge movie buff, it’s really challenging for me to part from my interest in film. However, having been saved, my perspective has definitely changed about how I watch movies. I feel a little uneasy every time I hear the Lord’s name taken in vain (which occurs much more often than most other curses that are considered “worse”… Even on public TV! I was once a die-hard South Park fan, and I still enjoy watching the show because it usually has valid philosophical messages of modern society. But it uses God’s name in vain A LOT!)

    My personal thinking on this issue (for the time being) is that if you decide to put yourself “in the path of sinners,” do so VERY CAUTIOUSLY, armored with the light of God. However, with the knowledge I have of the Scripture so far, I would say that anything that does not glorify the Lord goes against his teaching. I never thought of myself as an extremist, but the more I am learning about God’s word, the more I believe God is revealing himself to me, and I cannot deny that his Word holds authority over all things in the heavens and the earth.

    A time spent watching R – rated films can be leisurely, but if seen under the law of sin, it is only time lost to your relationship with God. That’s just my own exegesis of the Scripture on this particular topic.

  41. Robert permalink

    Yes, this doesn’t only apply to the Hollywood spewing sewage, but to other forms of entertainment as well. If we are to walk as Jesus did, how can we be deceived by the devil’s work? I’m not saying that all movies are bad, but I think most are. Here is where we need spiritual discernment to choose wisely in what we watch, listen or participate in. I highly recommend a book titled “The Entertainment Syndrome”. It is a non-sugar coated read on how entertainment has conformed the minds of many as being acceptable.

    “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). A spiritual death or physical? Or perhaps even both?

  42. Rose Reese permalink

    Thank you, Mark. I think about this when I watch some of the police show on tv. They are as bad or worse than the movies. I need to keep my Bible open and my tv off. Thank you for your insights into the scripture everyday.

  43. Susan Lopez permalink

    I never cease to be amazed that the God of the universe would take the time to speak to me. Yet He does.

    Sunday night my husband and I rented Bad Lieutenant, which was rated R. After watching the movie I was really convicted about the content of that movie. It just filled my mind with all its ugliness.

    Monday morning (yesterday) as I was going through my emails there was my Daily Hope with Rick Warren devotional that I get everyday. The verse for yesterday was Phillippians 4:8! He was talking about defeating bad thoughts and temptations by putting our focus on good things. It really hit home because that movie left my mind and emotions feeling violated. Rick Warren spoke about getting up and turning off the television, or walking out of the theater and doing whatever is necessary to turn your attention to something else.

    Then this morning I open up my email and here is your Journey Deeper into God’s Word devotional speaking about the same thing! Using the same verse! I’m pretty sure God is trying to tell me something here!

    Okay God, I hear you! I’m listening. Thanks for the confirmation!

  44. Kathy permalink

    I have come to understand that we can open the door to demonic activity and evil spirits in our homes, our lives and our children’s lives. We need to be very careful what we watch and what we read. I have been very concerned about the popularity of vampire-themed books and films. These are Satanic, and it amazes me when a Christian mother encourages her little girls to read the books and watch the movies/TV shows. If I say anything about it, I’m told I should mind my own business! Come, Holy Spirit, we need You! I’ve also found that the closer you get to the Lord, the less interested you are in merely being entertained.

  45. Staci permalink

    Late last year I felt the Lord calling me away from the tv (never have been a big movie theater fan, just don’t really go and NEVER watch R rated movies, very, very few PG-13)… anyway, I started watching the live webstream of the Awakening Services from the IHOP in KC, MO.. that took care of Wed. – Sat. nights.. what to do about Sun. – Tues…. IHOP started offering their prayer room webstream live and FREE so now I have that on from early morning to late at night. It has literally changed the atmosphere in my home.. I find that I’m hungrier for a deeper relationship with the Lord, spend more time reading the Word and talking to Him.

    He had begun asking me when I was asking Him about the state of the “church”.. the lack of hunger, the lack of desire for prayer.. “WHY DO YOU CALL EVIL GOOD AND GOOD EVIL?”.. So many Christians do just that.. concerts and movies that are anything but GOOD.. Vampires, demonic… Most secular female singers (and males for that matter too) prancing around on stage in nearly nothing singing of things that are definitely NOT pleasing to God. Why do we call that vampire movie good? Demons. “We” call those movies good (well, I don’t) and the world calls us bad because we don’t believe in abortion (or whatever other issue you stand up for that is wrong according the Word of God and yet the world calls us bad)…

    Why do you call the secular “entertainment” of the world good? I guard my heart, my eyes and my ears by being choosy about what I listen to, watch and read… it truly makes a difference.

    Makes no difference to me if that war movie is just the way life is.. and it should be “ok” to sit thru that movie with all it’s violence and vulgar language.. NO.. that’s not my life and I’m called to a higher standard than that.

    I love my G rated life thank you very much.

  46. gloriadelia permalink

    Question? Why did Jesus Christ give himself up for us?
    Answer –“Jesus Christ…gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:14)

    I just read that verse yesterday. It really hit me in the heart. He redeemed us FROM wickedness, to PURIFY us for himself. Oh, may we be eager to do what is good, like the rest of the verse says. At least as eager as we are to pay to see whatever Hollywood puts up on the screen.

  47. Janie permalink

    I am fully convinced that we must be very careful what we watch and listen to! I have wondered if I am just being old-fashioned but after reading these replies, I know that I will continue to be very careful what I watch and listen to!
    I remember as a child seeing this little picture of three little monkies, one covered his eyes, one, his mouth and one, his ears! And also there is a verse that says that the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour! We certainly don’t want to give the devil anything,specially not our MINDS!
    Thanks for writing this article and for all the replies!

  48. Rosemary Potter permalink

    Mark I like and agree to the premiss you are bringing into our thought patern. The word “conditioned” lights up the whole article. Have we as a society let ourselves, therefore our children and grandchildren become so acustomed to the exploitation of sex and violence that we are in a “live and let live”, or numb to the facts of right and wrong. I have been in so many churches that for the sake of maintaining their membership, they are closing their eyes to God’s word, and it all boils down to the Green Eyed Monster “MONEY”.

    Just a devout CHRISTIAN’s thoughts.

  49. Elleke permalink

    I watch r-rated, g-rated and in between movies. I have my own standards based on my faith. I found the Sopranos on TV very amoral. I don’t like movies that glamorize violence, gangsters, or the sexual exploits that seem to be the norm today. However, if sex or violence is part of a story that involves looking at a moral side of life then they MAY be worthy of watching. Many of the action movies today are morality tales, just like in ancient times where the characters were right and wrong with right winning out as in King Arthur and in mythology. I find these tales are stepping stones to the story of our salvation through Christ–when one meets another where they ARE it is easier to speak the gospel. I also think that teenagers (I had 3) are going to watch some of this stuff, so parent has to know what they are dealing with–discussion about the movie in spiritual terms. Also, the Bible says we are the salt of the earth. We cannot season without being in the soup–and if we know what is in the soup, the seasoning can be appropriately dispensed. So if we are to say we should not watch R-rated movies, we may be putting too rigid a rule on all of us–this needs to be prayed about on an individual basis.

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      For three years I worked as an advocate for sexual assault victims and prevention. I used the Sopranos as examples of exploitation of women and the resulting damage it causes.

  50. Lindsey permalink

    Beware, if you can or think you can take in these images, words, ideas, etc., without being affected,… you are caloused. God help you.

  51. I am so encouraged by alot of the comments I am reading of others who have made the decision to remove tv from their lives. Our family recently made the decision to stop watching tv. We have 4 children and it was a hard adjustment at first for them. However, within a week, the children all starting playing more together instead of fighting, they wanted to help around the house more, and as a family we all started spending more time together, including Bible study. I was being tempted by satan because I often had thoughts that I was depriving my children of an enjoyable activity by removing tv. I knew this was an obsurd way of thinking as a Christian mom and I just kept strong to what I knew was right and what the Holy Spirit was leading me to do. I was guilty of watching tv as a way to “escape from reality” for a moment, I actually thought I was getting rejuvenated by it. BUT OH HOW GOOD OUR GOD IS!! The times I would have been watching tv are now turned into Bible reading and I have more energy and positive thoughts than ever before, no more depression or anything. I am so thankful to the Lord for convicting our family to do what is right which in turn allows our growth with God to be stronger. We are trying to walk the talk, not just talk the walk. Doing what is right isn’t an easy road, which is why so many fall into satan’s traps…he likes to make things easy and appealing for people so they will turn further from God. Just like there’s no such thing as a legit”get rich quick” scheme, there’s also no such thing as “take the easy road to get to heaven”. Rest assured though, our wonderful and loving God will ALWAYS be there for us and give us the strength to endure anything if we just have faith and trust soley in HIM!! A walk with God is so much bigger than just the issue of tv.

  52. Cinda Christiansen permalink

    I think the Bible makes it clear to dwell on thing that are good and pure, it is however between you and God. He is your council. If God is strong in your life you will be more driven to sustain from this. I do sometime watch something that I know good and well is bad, just to see how satin is working on the world, how he is trying to influence us threw music and the media. However, I don’t usually sit or listen to the whole thing and refuse to watch the worst. I will not let anything provoke me ill in anyway including the shows on TV. Watch out for satin, he is sly and devious. He can sneak things in. When you watch TV ask God to show you the truth. It works.

  53. Teresa permalink

    I Peter 1:16 — for it is written, “Be holy, because I am holy.” I have a real problem with movies and just about all that’s on TV. Movies and most TV shows are full of swearing, killing, sexual sin, etc — all the sins that Jesus died for. The fact that so many christians are “entertained” by these actions is very sad. If these actions are “no big deal,” then why would Jesus die because of them?

    Jesus tells us to be holy and, if we are christians, the Holy Spirit lives within us to teach and guide us. I can’t imagine the Holy Spirit beinq quiet in our hearts if we’re watching those movies or TV shows.

  54. Monibeck permalink

    I once was able to watch R rated movies and I felt nothing was wrong with it. As I began to form a closer relationship with God the holyspirit convicted me and told me I should not be putting bad things into my body. My body is where the holyspirit dwells therefore I am very careful of what I watch, read, or even who I hang around. To be honest these days the PG-13 movies are now R rated. I remeber this pastor saying if Jesus was sitting right next to you would you do some of the things that you are doing. I know this is extreme but it is true what would we do differently?

  55. Jacob McCoy permalink

    Ultrafundies really irk me. I mean, if your conscience is hurt by watching R-rated movies, that’s fine and dandy. But in all honesty, there is no biblical precedent that says we should invoke a fortress mentality to these things. Your misuse of Philippians is down right disgraceful, and I am ashamed that you would use a scripture that is calling people to consider and think on the Grace of God to justify a sweeping generalization that Christians, en mass, shouldn’t watch R rated movie.

    We are called to be in the world, not of it. If Jesus were around today, and were hanging out with today’s sinners and tax collectors, you best bet he’d be seen in the movie theater, at a keg party, and in all the other “dens of vice” that most ultra conservatives quickly dismiss so that they can go back to a sheltered life.

    Again, if you are the brother spoken of in 1 Cor 8 with the weak conscience, it is fine to voluntarily not expose yourself to these things. But there is no reason to say we are Christians as a whole shouldn’t.

  56. Lena permalink

    Thank You Steve! Amen!

  57. Kerry P permalink

    Mark, yes R rated movies have an effect on us. So do G & PG rated movies that tug at our emotions and promote messages that are counter to the Gospel. So does the majority of popular music. So does the classical Blues that I like to listen to and play on guitar.

    I am reminded of 1 John 2:15-17: 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

    We have been called out of the darkness of the world into the Lord’s marvelous light. Perhaps we (that definitely includes myself) should heed the advice of our Lord and his apostles.

  58. Dave Cronk permalink

    If we are concerning ourselves with avoiding these influences of immoral or violent activity, we should consider it in all forms. Has anybody here read this book called the Bible? Wow, the sex, violence, and murder in there.

  59. ashley permalink

    I am a Christian and I watch rated R movies. I don’t see the big deal bc I know right from wrong. I enjoy to watch a good scary or action movie. This world isn’t rated G or PG just watch the news and you can see that.

  60. Beth C. permalink

    I think that this is a challenge to the flesh that most Christians are happy to ignore, I believe that when we talk talk particularly about motion picture entertainment, most Christians feel that it is their ‘last thing’ that they can do and not feel guilty. We don’t often really see the that this type of entertainment encourages, and for lack of a better way of saying it, ‘inflames’ our flesh. I know that on more than one occasion, I have been convicted on what movies I can watch and what I cannot. The more I press into God, the less I am able to watch, I really actually like it, as I know that there is more of Him, on the inside and less of me.(Not saying I am by any means perfect), It can be challenging because there is not a lot of entertainment that easily accessible to Christians. It is definitely better than it was in terms of access. So I say we must press into God, and leave the works and desires of the flesh and of the world behind.

  61. Shari Hegland permalink

    After reading that piece of scripture a couple of years ago, I also stepped back from some of the television and books I had been reading. I used to enjoy the crime dramas – CSI, NCIS, etc. – and books about crime and investigation. But many were very vivid in their violent imagery and I wondered about what I was feeding my mind.
    I don’t really miss them, and feel that if I were to watch/read them now, I would likely be shocked.
    The language in so many movies also turned me off, so I seldom watch anymore.

  62. I would rather read the King James or New king James Verison Bible.
    but I do know what is being said in your Bible.Ireally love to get your E-mails
    They are very helpful and i`m trying to journey deeper into Gods Word.
    Thanks !! love In Christ Bro.DON

  63. marti permalink

    It does matter, because if you are truley living by God’s word and wanting to live that clean and beautiful life God says you can have, he does not want you to glutter it up with violance and pronography. It is a temptation put to all of us. We are just lucky our noses do not really grow.

  64. priscilla w. permalink

    WoW Mark!! Philippians 4:8!!! Definitely a verse…..TO LIVE BY! Let the Holy Spirit lead, guide….AND convict. Followers and lovers of Christ SHOULD…be able to decide for themselves….along with God’s Word to give us instructions how to live. 2 Timothy 3:16,17~~ All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. ~~

  65. It is not good for any Christion to watch R rated movies whether sexual
    or violence is contained in them. It just aint good.

  66. Kerri M permalink

    Violence, sexuality..uit depends on the context, the nature of the presentation. What about horror movies? What about animated films or kids movies that are based on cults and witchcraft?? Address all issues please when speaking of what we lay our eyes on and put into our minds. Even comedies that have no moral agenda to the storyline..theres more to a sinful nature than just sexuality and violence. ..And in refrence to what one person on here said, that they “have a G-rated life”; Wow, are you really that ignorant? There is no such thing as a G-rated life, and I don’t think God is going to judge us as G-rated or R-rated, etc! LOL The fact that you who said that, also said you feel sorry for the other person showed a sense of condemnation towards them and I consider that being judgemental. Hmm.

  67. Direct reply to the original, with only a skim of the comments:

    Mark, you said it all when you say you go into it with “your eyes open and your Bible open.”

    Movies are rated for different reasons. I know violence would have less of an immediate effect or temptation on me than sexual content, or even partial nudity. Therefore I choose to turn on the Parental Control on the cable box at home, even though we have no children. It’s too tempting.

    For me, violence can have a variety of effects on me. I happened to catch the remake of Casino Royale, for example, on TV. Only 5 minutes of it. The Lord showed me that, like Peter, I would not be as strong a witness for Him in a situation involving physical torture as I thought I would be. Thankfully God has purged that scene from my mind. (Those who want to know what the scene is, trust me, you don’t, especially if you’re a guy!) On the other hand, I’ve never had any problem with the violent content of the Warner Brothers or Popeye cartoons. The same goes with science fiction movies, including comic-based movies like Iron Man. (I’m talking about violence here.)

    We do have to be careful, though, about what enters our minds. “Everybody’s doing it” or “it’s just like the real world” aren’t viable excuses. Each one of us “gets into” a movie differently, too. My wife, for example, can miss several minutes without flinching. I, on the other hand, have to rewind to see what happened, sometimes *several* times. (Pity me in the theater when I can’t do that. 🙂 ) My “full immersion” type of experience opens me up more than the casual glance experience my wife would have. On the other hand, she’d be more subject to a subliminal influence that I’d probably see glaring out at me.

    The verse “all things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient” comes to mind here. We need to remember that there are temptations that affect some differently than others. We need to remember, too, that there’s more that’s not good for us than just sin.

  68. herbert haile permalink

    It amazes me how hard some “followers” of Christ will defend their choices of entertainment. I don’t believe Paul went and observed the pagan orgies and sex plays of ancient Greece and Rome to “be in touch” and have a better understanding of the culture. If you believe simulated sex and violence is pleasing to God and reflects the teachings of our Savior, you have a distorted view of grace and I feel very sad for you that you believe the freedom we have in Christ is to “fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:13). We will be praying for you.

  69. Linda Sharpton permalink

    Thank you for the insight. I too have been reading God’s word more and have come to the wonderful conclusion that the more I read, the more alive the word become within me. Living a life focused on what is pure, right, good and so on is becomming more and more like my “first” nature!! God is an amazing God!!!

  70. Lydia Reyes permalink

    I find that as my walk with God gets stronger the urge to see any type of movie and shows on the TV or read books with sex and violence get less appealing to me and I thank God for the guidance and decernment he gives me by living life in the spirit. I know that when I hear someone take the Lord’s name in vain, it feels like a daggar has been pounded into my heart and I know that it’s the conviction of the one who dwells in me. I am very far from perfect, but I have the perfect one watching over me and guiding me to do the right thing. Keep your focus on the one who is in charge of the whole universe. JESUS. Thank you Mark for a very good topic . It has put alot of people to think and pray for God’s will. Keep up the good works of God coming.

  71. David permalink

    2 Corinthians 10:5: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity.”

  72. I believe when u profess your faith in the Lord almighty u should not cling to those things of the world and I can not sit and whatch a movie filled with death,violence,sex,cursing without feeling disgust. We are to love the things of GOD not worship earthly things. The devil wants us to sit in those movies and watch all that stuff making it ever so easy to seep his evilness into our minds just hoping that we stray from our narrow paths. He tempts us with lust and music portraying wealth and sex as the ultimate prize in life. We as christians should shutter at all these things and separate ourselves from such worldliness.I’m pretty sure their not watching movies like this in Heaven and we should base our activities as tho we r in Heaven. Prepare now for all our days and nights will be spent praising and worshipping our great GOD!

  73. Sister Pam OP permalink

    Great discussion, everyone. Father Mark, you really hit a nerve this time. My household is one of No TV. Both of my adult sons did the same in their homes. We are all better for it.

  74. Alana permalink

    WWJD people say. what did Jesus Yahweh do. He sat with the R rated prostitutes and sat with the Z rated tax collector. His Yahweh’s work is done Satan is defeated.

  75. Steve Gill permalink

    A true believer is tested to “See” how there heart is working everyday. Can we pass this test? If God asks us to be a Holy and Living Sacrifice, then He is asking us to be Refined…..
    I believe that this means giving up “things” to show that we are His and not the worlds.
    What have we given up today? What are we willing to give away that has a hold over us. There has been a lot of Anguish over this question about R Rated movies and even G rated movies that have bad messages and so on and so forth. I truly believe that the Spirit is showing us something much deeper here. Who and what are we trying to please? That answer and a willingness to let Him do a work in us is really all we need. Because if you do that and the answer is HIM…. HE will shape you into something that doesn’t waste a moment on something that has little worth. Love to all you wonderful people. We all are at different points on our path. Enjoy the ride. All of you have selected His Way…. and that’s a great start.

  76. Morley permalink

    As one who professed Jesus as saviour, I still wanted sin and Jesus, yet now I desire Him as Lord and want no part of that ugly life of compromise. TV was a large influence negatively growing up and now we are free from its bond and its influence. If we could all see what love our precious Lord Jesus Christ has for us, we would weep to see how we have grieved Him and the Holy Spirit. We need not just profess Him but also allow Him to possess us by His ‘Holy’
    Spirit by repentance and faith. The rest of life is the same. Why TV? Why most movies? Why questionable music? We have one life to live and then face-to-face with God. Life is too short to waist on the world. We are solders and ambassadors using His precious and holy word while there is little time left to do so.
    Thanks Mark.

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