Watching a movie with friends is a favorite activity for many of us. Whether we go to a theater or watch one on television, it's an easy way to spend time with friends. But behind the scenes, there's an ongoing debate that affects you, me and everyone who listens to or views the various forms of media.
The debate has raged for a long time. On one side, producers of movies, TV shows and music say their products don't cause antisocial behavior such as crime, immorality or disrespect of people and their property. They say their entertainment is harmless, that it just reflects real life.
On the other hand, some media critics argue that the media powerfully affects society—that our minds act like sponges soaking up everything we see and hear with the result that many are led to act out what has come into their minds. Critics also contend that the media doesn't report real life fairly. Moreover, they maintain that media portrayals magnify the level of poor behavior within society and are therefore responsible for encouraging yet more poor behavior.
As a vertical thinker, a person who carefully examines issues in light of God's Word, this debate between media producers and critics isn't a confusing one. Consider the argument that many in the media use in defending sexually immoral scenes and lyrics. They say such things don't influence anyone.
Then marketers come along with sexually suggestive ads to sell their products. Advertisers have done their research; they know what kinds of ads cause people to buy and which ones don't. Producers of automobiles, liquor, clothing and gadgets of every type all want us to think that their products are sexy. In the advertising industry, it is a well-known fact that sex sells. And interestingly, it sells movies too! We all know the obvious. What we see and hear does influence us!
At the most basic level of this debate, media producers know that they have the opportunity to influence people.
This is why they often praise one another for making social statements and trying to influence others with their points of view. And when their worldviews don't include God and His standards of behavior, what kind of influence do you think their movies will have? Connect the dots.
God, through the apostle Paul, tells us to bring "every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). Controlling each one of our thoughts is a demanding job. As Christians, it is hard to resist pressures to conform to the world—but resist we must. And resistance is not futile!
Scripture clearly says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2).
This issue is dedicated to helping you master the wrong influences that come through the medium of movies.
It is dedicated to helping you find what is "acceptable" to God and what His "will" is regarding our movie viewing.
It explains how to extract values from movies and provides some insight regarding religious movies.
Make yourself some popcorn. Get a refreshing drink. Turn up the light so you can see. Sit back. And read this issue for some vertical thinking about movies. VT