In response to our recent podcast, Sniping for Christ, Seminarian writes:
“Are we giving young adults and men further justification that they do not need to grow up? Later, an assertion is made that ‘Movies touch on the deep things of life.’ Sure, they might, but for many we would have to expose ourselves to sin first, and most teens don’t sit and ponder the questions afterwards anyway.”
The argument is something I hear often from those who have decided they would rather avoid film, television, video games, etc. than take their chances exposing themselves to sin. This is a valid argument. It stems from good intentions, particularly a desire to refrain from being “of the world,” a desire to “make disciples, followers of Christ, and to display the superior desirability of the Lord and spiritual things to this world,” as Seminarian says himself.
In this sin-stained world in which we live, it’s impossible to touch on “the deep things in life” authentically without acknowledging that sin, and yes, even sometimes exposing ourselves to it.
This desire to avoid sin and to instead carry out God’s purposes for his church should be cultivated. It is every Christian’s duty to live for Christ’s glory in these ways. It is the accompanying desire expressed to avoid being “exposed” to sin which is somewhat misguided.
Granted, there are cases in which weak brothers ought to do their best to avoid that which causes them to violate their conscience or otherwise sin, but the concept of the presence of sin being sin in and of itself is a foreign concept in scripture. In fact, the pervading setting in Scripture is a series of cities and situations wherein Christians are forced to come face to face with sin. We could call this “real life.”
Every Sunday Christians gather at church. Some Christians go to Christian schools and Christian oriented club gatherings at various times throughout the week. The rest of the time, we have to deal with the world. That is, we are in the world. When we are a part of this world, sometimes we experience the sin of the world: course jesting, malicious gossip, lost tempers and lost integrity. These are the realities of our workplaces, our neighborhoods, and our schools. If we’re honest, sometimes they’re the realities of our churches.
A good film speaks to these things realistically. In this sin-stained world in which we live, it’s impossible to touch on “the deep things in life” authentically without acknowledging that sin, and yes, even sometimes exposing ourselves to it. A good film or yes, even a good video game (rare, but but lately becoming more and more likely) can cause us to consider our reaction to and our attitude toward sin.
But why expose youth or anyone else to such a thing if they “don’t sit and ponder the questions afterwards anyway”? The question should instead be whether or not they ought to be able to experience any part of life without thinking it through in the context of their own Christ-centered worldview. Rather than writing off film because people don’t think about it, encourage them to think about it. Take them out to coffee afterwards and talk. Embrace the good, and expose the bad. Let your worldview play out before one another. Edify. Fellowship.
So, “are we giving young adults and men further justification that they do not need to grow up?” Absolutely not. We’re teaching them (and ourselves) to grow up even in the midst of their free time. We’re teaching them (and ourselves) that there are no breaks from the Christian life and worldview. Even if we cut out film and video games, there will always be something filling up what little free time we may have. Whether that’s sports, reading, or a card game with friends, none of it should be done without a little pondering.