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News :: Media
To See or Not to See That New Horror Film
15 Jun 2005
To See or Not to See That New Horror Film
To See or Not to See That New Horror Film.jpg
To See or Not to See That New Horror Film

Have you ever found yourself hanging out with friends who wanted to see a horror film How can you decide what to do
by Leslie Schwartz

Have you ever found yourself hanging out with friends who wanted to go see a horror film How can you decide what to do

It's Saturday night and the youth group in your congregation is trying to decide how to spend the evening. Will it be a few games of bowling or a trip to the local burger joint that's always open past midnight

Why don't we go see that movie that just opened suggests one of your good friends. You know, the one with the awesome special effects and the creepy plot. I hear it's supposed to be the scariest movie of the year! A few teens begin to nod in approval.

You stand in your circle of close friends, unsure of how to respond. Yes, the movie is supposed to be terrifying—so scary, in fact, that there have been warnings about it in local papers. You even overheard a young couple at church discussing the degrading quality of such popular horror films. Still, somehow the positive response from your peers makes it sound appealing. And if your Church friends suggest it, then it must be OK, right

With each new movie release, Hollywood's quest for more advanced special effects and gorier plots seems to escalate. Movie producers and screenwriters know no limit to the infinite creative potential they possess, pushing the envelope a little further with each new flick.

As a Christian audience, how can we be more aware of media influences and respond to less-than-godly ideas and storylines Satan's power keeps growing in all areas of society, pervading film today in particular. Making a decision as simple as what movie to watch might seem trivial to some, but the main idea of this controversial debate is powerful—what we let into our minds determines what we will think about and dwell on, and shapes our thoughts and actions.

How can we dwell on the crude and horrific images Hollywood offers, when God wants us to meditate and focus on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous and of good report (Philippians 48)

Few movies produced today reflect any fragment of the beauty God has in store for those who love and follow Him, but thousands exist that constantly tear down His wondrous plan in favor of sinful, worldly views.

God calls Christians out of the permeating darkness around us to be lights to the world (Matthew 514). It's difficult, if not impossible, to be a shining example if we surround ourselves with dark plots, demonic themes and ungodly ideas. We need to walk as children of light (Ephesians 58) and make our body full of light (Luke 1135-36), traveling on the path of righteousness guided by the godly decisions we make on a daily basis.

We get to choose
Since we have a choice, why choose to fill our minds with demonic images and ungodly themes In Romans, Paul tells us to not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (122).

Every time we buy into the system and compromise our core beliefs and values to see that hot new movie, we kid ourselves into believing that just a little can't hurt us. We may justify our behavior, thinking we are strong and know what we believe, but Satan wins another victory over our hearts and minds with each small compromise.

Guarding our minds against the clever schemes that society continually presents to us—in the guise of a hyped-up Hollywood blockbuster—by arming ourselves with the truth and the knowledge of God will ultimately help us along our spiritual journey (Ephesians 611-13).

More than movies
However, the endless cycle of choices involved in standing up for what we believe doesn't exist solely in movies. We must also analyze the television shows we watch, the music we listen to, the role models we strive to emulate and, overall, the material we read and the things in which we invest our time.

Choices shape who we are and what we become. If we want to reflect godly principles and standards, then we must be selective and careful when deciding what we watch, listen to and participate in. We must constantly evaluate our lives and behavior so they reflect biblical standards and God's high calling, working to cultivate godly fruits that bring us closer to the ultimate goal of being part of God's Kingdom (Matthew 633; 717-20).

Like the teen mentioned above, I have been in situations where I had to decide whether I should stand up for God's truth or lie low in the background. Who wants to be the one to speak out against popular opinion, especially in your congregation's youth group or at school, risking your reputation to uphold certain standards Nevertheless, won't God be pleased when we rise above the norm, no matter how popular the majority opinion may be We need to take it upon ourselves to step back from tempting situations and evaluate them in order to come to an unbiased conclusion that honors and respects God's desires for our lives.

Ultimately, we should all be ready and willing to stand up, in a polite and humble way, for what we know is right and what is in our best interest based on godly standards. Not only will this attitude shed a fresh light on the situation, but in the end it can also help us gain respect from our peers. Politely and humbly standing up for a godly principle can lead to a blessing for setting a godly example that others can follow (Romans 828). VT

Leslie Schwartz is 20 years old and attends UCLA where she is studying mass communication, education and developmental psychology and working as a resident assistant. She attends the Los Angeles, California, congregation of the United Church of God and loves writing and going to good movies.

This work is in the public domain
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