Should What Christians Watch Match Their Testimony?
Jon Acuff, of “Stuff Christians Like” tackles the issue of watching R-rated content if that content is merely violent, not obscene. This is a tough question because what Christians watch may fly in the face of what they say they want to watch.
We all have our favorite television shows. I have mine. You have yours.
And it’s likely that shows I like and shows you like won’t always match.
I know there are some Christians who leave their television on inspirational-themed programming all day long. Shows like The 700 Club and a variety of others tucked away in more obscure corners of the cable lineup. Or on secular programs that are so “sweet” in nature that they barely compare to anything being produced today: The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie and Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman.
There are shows I’ve watched for years that fit into the “innocence” category. The Andy Griffith Show and Gilligan’s Island immediately come to mind. They were sitcoms, but sitcoms in which you knew that everyone was going to be okay.
Over at his blog, Stuff Christians Like, Jon Acuff makes mention of the program, Game of Thrones while mentioning a conversation with a friend about whether it’s acceptable to watch HBO and R-rated films if the films only have violence, not sexuality, that contributed to the rating.
It made me think about a post I write during this blog’s infancy about a device that would play R-rated movies on DVD and automatically skip the family-unfriendly parts.
It was part of a quest to “sanitize” films so that the viewer wouldn’t have to be subjected to profanity, violence or sex.
I found it odd — and still do — that people who are that offended by content that isn’t appropriate for the whole family would want that “filth” in their home to begin with. In that scenario, they were relying on people they didn’t know to prescreen and remove content from filmmakers they didn’t trust to make sure nothing “got through.”
It’d be so much easier to…you know…watch something else.
Like Acuff, I can’t count the number of times a particularly violent title like Braveheart has been mentioned at church and held up as an inspirational film when compared to a Christian’s obligation for resolve as a warrior.
Yet some of these same people will mention having given up one sitcom or another because of the “sex” talk or depictions of couples living together (in sin).
Of course it’s a double standard.
But there’s quite a degree of violence and even sex in the Bible, too. I don’t see anyone offering a “sanitized” version of the Good Book to make it more family friendly. Do you?
I think most Christians face this question, and I’d guess that most Christians allow into their brains content that crosses the line one way or another.
If we’re committed to making sure our entertainment never crosses the line, that should be a major red flag. That it isn’t should suggest to us that our commitment is questionable at best.
I’m not saying, for the record, that Braveheart is a bad example of the dedication required to be a Christian warrior.
But if you’re going to take the stance of a prude, especially if you begin criticizing what you see as inappropriate content, follow the teaching of Christ: double-check all the ways what you watch and enjoy might fail your own test.
It might make for much shorter conversations.