Today, we have a special guest! My friend, Joshua Hoppman, is a Christian cinematographer and homeschool graduate. Below is his article on violence in films. Enjoy!
When you look at the long list of films being produced today, you see a common factor among most of them. That common factor is violence. Should I watch them? What does the Bible say about it? How should Christian films portray violence?
As a Christian it is hard to ignore the fact that films today are one of our culture’s downfalls. Films entertain, but also subtly teach, indoctrinate, and instruct. With the amount of violence in films today, I’m not surprised at the amount of violence in our culture. Murders and killings are shown in many movies today and suicide is a popular ingredient to films as well. Compare that with our culture today and you see that violent films definitely have an effect.*
So how should Christians respond? Well, we can turn to the Bible and find that it also is filled with violent stories. “Huh? Jael killed a military general with a tent peg? Samson slayed one thousand men? Joshua fought and killed how many men at Ai?” It can seem a little confusing at first when you realize how much violence is in the Bible.
Well, first of all, does the Bible give graphic, gory, descriptions of violence? The Bible gives the accounts of a sinful world living during a particularly violent time in history. Second of all, does the Bible glorify the violence? No, the Bible does not glorify blood and gore at all. In fact, the more you read the Bible, the more you begin to see the powerful redemptive story of God’s love for a sin-laden world that turned its back on Him. The violent stories in the Bible all serve a purpose to bring this, and many other messages to us. Compare those stories to the ones shown in films today. There is an obvious difference. One glorifies the sin; the other glorifies the Creator who has the victory over all sin.
How should Christian films show violence? I believe the Bible is the perfect example of how to portray it. Christian films, or any other films for that matter, should not show violence to glorify or show it in excessive amounts. That is just appealing to the flesh and sin nature. However, showing no violence at all in certain scenes can come across as corny, or unrealistic. There must be proper balance between too much and too little.
As viewers we need to be careful what we take in. What we watch needs to stand out as being different than that of the world (Romans 12:2). Keep in mind one of my favorite (and most used), verses from the Bible which says; “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”. - Philippians 4:8
Also remember Ephesians 5:15-17 which says “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”
*Edit: As I was writing this, a young man walked into an elementary school in Connecticut and killed 28 people, mostly children. Is this what our culture is coming to? Please be praying for the families who lost loved ones.* (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/12/14/police-respond-to-shooting-at-connecticut-elementary-school/ )