Wednesday, October 20, 2010


When to Engage Critically

Justin Taylor recently quoted a book on Christians watching movies:
Perhaps the single most important philosophical question to ask when watching a film is, “What is the nature of humanity according to this movie?”
The first thought that ran through my mind as I read that was - LIGHTEN UP!

Not every film, in fact I would venture to say most films, require that level of critical analysis - they are just entertainment. And if we treat them as such they are unlikely to infest our mind with all sorts of evil ideas. For example - I found Cheech and Chong hilarious when I was a kid, but I also knew it was a joke - I was never tempted to try dope by their constant dope jokes - Tommy Chong's continuing efforts to legalize marijuana not withstanding. I did not have to subject it to deep critical analysis.

Not every movie has a sub-text - yes, they all reflect the viewpoints of their creators, but movies are such a collaborative effort, at least major films, that there is no single viewpoint inherent in them. "Hollywood" while liberal is not monolithically so. Most of the time they work pretty hard to remove "messaging" from films because it automatically limits the audience.

Is it any wonder some find us Christians off-putting - we suspect everything is trying to hurt us, or is evil. Just not the case.

I think Jesus intends us to be entertained and to enjoy ourselves. There is a time to be serious and a time not to be. Some movies require our critical engagement - most do not.


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