There are a series of assumptions that we make here at Christ and Pop Culture. Like many Christian sites, we take for granted in the various writings we publish that the reader understands certain principles. We understand this to be both an unrealistic and necessary expectation. Because of this, I thought it would be a good idea to spend a significant amount of time making it crystal clear the sort of things we take for granted on this site.
What will result is a series of posts that deal with core beliefs and ideals. These are things we think all Christians ought to understand when it comes to popular culture, as well as the assumptions we operate under. They will come up again. They’re that important. But for now, we thought we’d lay them out clearly enough that no one could say we didn’t say them.
In this post, I’ll talk about two concepts we take for granted when it comes to Christians and the conscience.
Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide
When it comes to popular culture, one thing is bound to happen: a television show, film, video game or book is going to become available to you that you would feel guilty for taking part in. And inevitably, Christ and Pop Culture will write an article about that thing. Let us be clear: we are not enouraging you to see that film, or play that game, or read that book in that case. Oftentimes we will warn against the sort of content that may cause our brothers to stumble. We take that danger very seriously.
We do not consider it our job to pressure our brothers and sisters in Christ into defiling their conscience. In fact, much of what we do here at CAPC is warn. We want you to be aware that if you go and see Sweeney Todd there will be lots of bloodshed and killing and that if you play Left 4 Dead you will be killing zombies and occasionally hearing your characters speak vulgar words.
Let Spiritual Growth Guide Your Conscience
I should say, however, that warning against stumbling blocks is not our primary concern. There are plenty of resources out there that do this sort of thing very well and are much more dependable, simply because they’re built from the ground up to focus on that sort of thing. We recommend you take full advantage of these resources. I myself use Kids in Mind regularly.
Our primary concern, then, is simply to help others think through the elements in pop culture they may come in contact with. This means warning against the sort of things that many might not consider to be stumbling blocks. This means praising the good and even righteous aspects of a film or book many may have written off as meaningless or evil. But most of all we do these things for a purpose: that the Christian might be able to take part in popular culture (which is inevitable) and be sanctified in the process (which is far from inevitable). In other words, we want our readers to do all things for the glory of God.
Paul refers to the conscience that stumbles over things such as the eating of meat sacrificed to idols as “weak.” We believe the same holds true for a conscience that stumbles over merely observing certain sins. Let me make this clear: my conscience is extremely weak in certain areas. There are certain things I can not handle. This is the nature of the human condition after the fall. We should not delight in it, but we should accept it. And if there are those who do not suffer from the same weaknesses, we ought to delight in that.
There are some elements of popular culture with little-to-no redeeming value such as pornography, Howard Stern-esque radio, etc. These are things we may occasionally expose but we will almost never defend. However, we will spend time defending good films that include what many consider to be objectionable content, because it is our belief that some of you are able to see or hear the objectionable content and not fall into sin.
If you find that your conscience is affected by such content, ask yourself why. Don’t simply avoid the content and ignore the problem. Instead, ask why you find yourself so affected and attracted by the sinful actions and attitudes of the world, and strive to overcome them. Paul never intended us to remain the “weaker” brother, and our conscience should grow along with the rest of our person. The Christian Life is not a life of stagnancy, but of constant growth. And often God rewards that growth not only with treasures in heaven but with the opportunity to take in a beautiful film on the weekend.