Everyone loves to be entertained. Movies, television shows, and novels all have one thing in common, they allow us to escape reality. T.S. Elliot said it best, “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” We enjoy the opportunity to escape, even for a moment, the realities of life. While this can be healthy in small doses, like candy, too much can be bad for our health. Furthermore, not only is the amount of entertainment we consume an issue, but the content we consume can also be extremely dangerous. Two movies currently at the box office serve as excellent examples of this point.
The Shack is considered by many to be a “Christian” film. However, while the story does reference God, is the god of The Shack the same God found in the pages of the Bible? Unfortunately, if the movie is true to the book, the answer is, “No.” William Young’s, The Shack, calls into question the sovereignty of God, fully rejects the divine power of Jesus while He was on earth (according to The Shack, “Jesus, as a human being, had no power within himself to heal anyone.”), and represents Jesus Christ as merely the “best” way to the Father, as opposed to the ONLY way to the Father. Yes, the story may be compelling, but if we are not careful, we walk away with a faulty and sub-par understanding of the omnipotent Creator of the universe. If you want to read about a personal encounter with God, try reading the book of Job. After meeting with God, Job responds, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted….Therefore I have uttered what I do not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” Job 42:2-3.
Beauty & The Beast is a childhood favorite. What could possibly be wrong with taking our children to see this new adaptation of a great Disney classic? According to the director, a decision has been made to portray one of the characters as openly homosexual. Furthermore, the director reports that there is an exclusively homosexual scene at the conclusion of this movie. (As this movie has not yet been released at the time of this post, I cannot speak to what that scene is.) This is a movie specifically targeted to children. I am not advocating that we must shield our eyes from every portrayal of sinful behavior; if that were the case, we could not walk outside our homes. However, is it wise to subject our children to sexual perversion at such a young age? The goal for Disney seems to be obvious, they want to normalize homosexuality so our children grow up thinking nothing is out of the ordinary regarding a type of behavior the Bible clearly defines as sinful. Christians are often accused of being hateful and “homophobic,” and this is sometimes the case. However, disagreeing is not hate. Believing God’s Word is not hate. I do not endorse hate, cruelty, or bullying of any kind; however, God’s Word does not change because culture or popular opinion does.
I know these are only two examples. I know there are countless other movies, television shows, and novels, which, one could argue are much worse than these. My intention is not to tell anyone what they can or cannot watch, but we must use discernment. While entertainment allows us to escape reality, that entertainment often influences our reality. The opinions, beliefs, and worldviews being presented can often find their way into my heart and mind. If we are not careful, we find that we begin to be conformed to the world. Maybe it’s time to think about what we watch and read. Maybe instead of simply being entertained, we begin to ask questions. What does this say about God? Is this normalizing sin? What will this teach my children? Is this desensitizing me and my family to sinful behaviors, actions, and attitudes?
Let us be wise. Let us use discernment. Let us begin to watch what we watch. And as we are entertained, let us always remember the words of the Apostle Paul, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2