I was recently told that “We should focus our Spiritual energy … on the right battles.” This was in response to my blog questioning whether Christians should find sorcery entertaining, as in the Doctor Strange movie. The question I have is, what is our “spiritual energy” and what are the “right battles?”
The writer of that comment said, “I don’t feel indoctrinated, nor are my boys to start embracing the dark arts.” He pointed out that this sort of question is the same leveled against the Harry Potter movies.
He’s right. And the Harry Potter movies portrayed outright magic and classic wizardry in a fun, lighthearted, positive way … which is in direct contrast to what God’s word says in the Bible.
The issue isn’t whether “I feel indoctrinated.” That’s a subjective measurement. The Bible is (or should be) a Christian’s measuring stick. Does the Bible suggest that the movie’s overall content is good and uplifting? Our senses–particularly apart from constant devotion to God–are seldom good litmus tests for goodness.
As I wrote in the other blog, I love the Marvel movies. I grew up reading those comics. I enjoy them. I was excited for the Netflix TV shows, too. But I’ve found myself passing on Jessica Jones and Luke Cage because they’ve gone into more and more sensual smut within their episodes. And what I might allow in moderation … I’m endorsing, possibly to excess.
As to whether seeing a particular movie or not seeing another will mark some stark difference is hardly the point. I’m certain that millions of people see TV shows and movies with a lot of objectionable content and may never act out in a direct way that shows the entertainment’s affect. But, beneath the surface, culture works. We may allow a show that has two episodes portraying casual sex (without any nudity), but then we find it inexcusable that our kids get involved in watching worse things later on.
Or we simply begin allowing a show into our homes that has more sex (sans nudity). Or a show that features a character known for casual sex (though it is never shown on screen). And then we find it easier to watch a show with other unlawful conduct portrayed …
After all, we’re not going out and having casual sex. We’re not engaging in open blasphemy. We’re not practicing magic, or reading horoscopes!
It reminds me of a common parable that my Mom used to use: The frog in boiling water. If you toss a frog in boiling water, it’ll likely die, but more than anything, it will try to jump out right away. It knows it’s in trouble. But if you put the flog in warm water, it feels comfy. As you turn up the heat, the frog is lulled to the permanent sleep without ever realizing it.
Just in case you’re wondering, that is not in the Bible.
But it describes truth. We’re not likely going to attend a movie that “indoctrinates” us in Wicca or Satanism. We’re going to shun a statue of Baphomet. Some “pastor” gets up and tells us to bow down to him … we’ll spot that right away.
But, we have 30-40 years of Eastern religion in the form of Star Wars and we start accepting that maybe God is like the Force and maybe prayer is like using the Force.
I can see the heads shaking. No, not me. I’m just spinning things, being legalistic.
It’s true that a strong Christian is not easily affected by these cultural tropes. There is certainly a lot that is objectionable in all of the entertainment produced by the world.
And it most certainly starts to affect all of us at some point.
By the grace of God, we’re pulled away from the danger, if we are set apart by God. But, more importantly, we start to see that some of these forms of entertainment are less appealing because they depict things that God hates.
Just like the Rom Com that depicts a couple falling in love and eventually sleeping together with no commitment of true love will desensitize us to the idea of casual sex, Star Wars and Doctor Strange (being flashy, sci-fi movies) can desensitize us to nature worship and sorcery.
It isn’t that we’re all going out to buy magic wands and start saying magic incantations…
Or are we? How many Christians are superstitious about the number 666? Or about saying “In Jesus’ Name” at the end of their prayer? Or, praying at a specific time, in the right amount of numbers to bend God’s Will? Or, the belief that our words actually create things?
All of those examples are held among so-called Bible-believing Christians who, I’m certain, would claim that they are not affected by entertaining, good movies.
Certainly, each person needs to follow the leading of the Spirit through their daily study of Scripture. If they feel that God’s prohibitions against sorcery and necromancy are nothing in the realm of entertainment … fine. Someone could boycott those movies, but actually be worse off because they secretly find them alluring.
It’s ultimately the heart that matters. We need to ask ourselves whether our appetites are honoring to God. We need to open each room of our life up to the Lord for His loving, careful cleaning.
Only then can we enter the blessed, eternal life. Because eternal life is not “living forever.” Rather, it’s having the quality of God’s eternity within the life we live today.