Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fear and Violence For Sale

Last weekend my son Zach had a friend over who brought several “kid’s movies” for them to watch that evening. Two of them were based on the popular children’s book series “Goosebumps.” After watching it with them for 10 minutes I was shocked by the reality that this book/movie was nothing more than a “horror” primer for kids. It was very frustrating to me that some company was profiting from entertaining children with these meaningless plots targeted to draw in kids by scaring them!

Millions of dollars are made every year on the selling media that uses gratuitous violence and horror as the primary entertainment source. From horror flicks to ultimate fighting, people are paying big money to sit on the edge of their seat and get jacked up about this stuff. The real problem I have is that there seems to be little to no redemptive value in this type of entertainment!! How does this line up with Philippians 4:8?
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
A few months ago I was listening to Dr. Daniel Amen M.D. of the Amen Clinics on Healthy Living Radio where he discussed that subjecting yourself to gratuitous horror flicks literally damaged your brain. Here is an article on the Media Awareness Network that highlights the drastic increase in violent media that is now being watched by more and more people. I think we should join these experts in being really concerned about how this type of media is becoming more and more popular.

In closing, I must admit that I have enjoyed my share of violent films from Gladiator to Saving Private Ryan to Passion of the Christ; however, I do feel the violence in these movies gave value and credibility to a greater story.

So, how should Christians respond to gratuitous media? How do we protect our children from the desensitization to violence and horror that is trickling down to them? Study after study shows that our children are suffering the consequences of a deteriorating entertainment culture. When will it end and what should we do?

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