R Rated Movies and Me
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.
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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan
The portions for the next few days are: Jeremiah 32-36; Luke 1-2
To access the complete plan for the year click here