The point is I was able to watch it because I knew it was nothing but special effects, or “FX,” as they say in the business. If it had been real, it would have upset me terribly.
We’re used to seeing depictions awful things in the movies and TV, so we’ve become desensitized to such scenes. Fights, murders, rapes, all flash before us with little effect because we know they’re unreal.
Moral CallousesA common occurrence in high-crime cities is violence against men, women and children taking place in full view of neighbors and onlookers with no one getting involved, or even reporting it to the police. While fear plays a huge part in that callousness, desensitization by depictions of violence in the entertainment media also plays a significant role in it.
Both of those phenomena also effect our view of the Bible, where we read right over true accounts of horrendous or miraculous events without reaction. By immersing ourselves in the media’s mock violence and FX, God’s truth tends to lose its impact on us.
The entertainment, and even the news media, also take their toll on our worldview*. Christ-followers today are becoming more worldly, materialistic and relativistic, than those of past centuries. Back then, such gross carnality characterized only nominal Christians, who, arguably, weren’t authentic believers at all. Now, you often can’t distinguish church members from non-believers, whether by appearance or by behavior.
Exceptions, PleaseAfter all that moralizing, I’d love to say I shield myself from worldly entertainments, but I can’t. Am I a hypocrite? I’ll leave that for God to judge. Does it have an influence on me? Yes, but mostly not a negative one. The thing is, after all these years of immersing myself in Bible teaching and critically observing the world around me, I’ve developed a fairly solid, Biblical worldview. When I see the world’s lies they stand out like a flagman waving a caution or stop sign, but the same can’t be said for the young or otherwise impressionable.
A SolutionTragically, we can’t completely shield our children from worldly influences. We can, however, expose the world’s lies while helping them to develop critical thinking through a gradual, consistent, teaching process. At first, they won’t like it a bit, as you’ll spoil their fun by interrupting carefully selected programs with your teaching. And for the not-so carefully selected programs, you will exemplify your judgment by consistently shutting off the boob tube, switching channels, or ending the rotten games and movies. Example is, after all, the most effective teaching.
Bottom line? To develop new believers, and especially our children, into mature Christ-followers, we need to reinforce the real while exposing the unreal, so anyone on whom we have influence will learn the difference.
*Worldview, for the uninformed, is like wearing glasses that filter everything you see. Those with a Biblical worldview have a well developed lie detector achieved through extensive discipling by mature Christ-followers. Other religious worldviews may produce similar standards, but the Bible is God’s only true revelation. End of story.