Christians and Movies

There continues to be a diversity of opinion in the Christian church in general, and in the Reformed church specificially, as to whether Christians should watch anything other than G to PG-13 rated movies. John Frame wrote a very helpful book a few years ago, titled Theology at the Movies, in which he considers the question, Should Christian’s Go To Movies? The answer he gives is well thought out and quite persuasive. Frame tackles some of the typical arguments raised by certain Christians who say that a believer should never watch movies with sex, bad language or extreme violence in them. His conclusion might surprise some. He writes:

Sex, foul language, and violence are incidental elements in film, but the non-Christian world-and-life-view is often at its core. That world-view does more damage in society than any cinematic portrayals of sex, violence, and ungodly speech. Indeed, that world-view is what makes the sex, violence, and language in movies unwholesome, in contrast with biblical depictions of such things.

But again, perspective is in order. Non-Christian philosophy has dominated the arts and general culture for the last three centuries. To avoid exposure to non-Christian world-views and values, we would have to avoid exposure to Mozart and Beethoven, Emerson and Thoreau, Hume and Kant, Paine and Jefferson, D. W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplin, and so on, not to mention Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, Euripides, Cicero, and other ancients. We tend to discount older exponents of non-Christian values, viewing them with the halo that comes with long cultural acceptance. For that reason, these older thinkers are often more dangerous than those which are more contemporary and more obviously anti-Christian. Indeed, for similar reasons, we must beware of G-rated films as much as of R- and X-rated films. Yes, let us limit our exposure to all of these influences; but not to the extent of leaving the world, or to the extent of becoming ignorant of Satan’s devices.

I have certainly not done justice to the entirety of Frame’s arguments by simply quoting this one paragraph. I am sure you will find the entire chapter to be thought provoking.

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