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FIRST-PERSON: Guarding against ‘Hollywood’ values

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (BP)–Sadly, it is getting more and more difficult to protect the Christian community from the negative values of the secular culture.

Changing secular views, progressively more liberal on issues such as divorce, premarital sex and unethical business practices, are pervasive and unchecked in the entertainment industry.

In a quick check, I found 32 Bible verses enjoining man to revere God; and in Exodus 20, God commands man not to misuse His name.

Unfortunately, the Ten Commandments have not gotten much play in Hollywood since the 1956 film by the same name.

Regarding the fourth commandment alone, God’s name or His Son’s is followed by a curse word — or used by itself as an exclamation to relieve frustration — in more films than not now playing in theaters.

Unfortunately, for me to share with you through my information ministry about movies and other entertainment forms, I often have to endure such assaults against my spiritual nature in order to inform and equip you to make good entertainment choices.

Recently, while viewing “Hollywood Homicide,” I cringed through at least 20 such blasphemous utterances by Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett, causing me to think about Ford’s entire body of work, and just why I liked the talented actor — given these numerous affronts to my God.

I concluded that he has used such language in the majority of his films. And quite frankly, I’m at a loss to explain why I or other Christians would support an entertainer who blatantly shows little reverence for God. I’m not bashing the actor; but I am concerned about my accountability for my entertainment choices and those by my fellow Believers.

For me, many times it is my assignment to watch a particular film. But, sometimes, I catch myself tolerating such language in the name of entertainment.

I know there are others who do likewise. When I ask Christians what they thought about a particular movie, I often get a reply something to the effect that “It was a great movie … there were a few choice words (or a couple of scenes), but other than that…” When questioned directly about the questionable content some will even reply, “Oh, I shut that out,” or, “Oh, I didn’t hear that.”

This whole subject tends to sting me a little bit. But, it’s an important discussion given the findings of recent studies.

According to a statement made on a recent airing of James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family” radio show, only 13 percent of Americans base moral decisions on biblical teachings. Even more disturbing is the fact that, according to Dobson, only 32 percent of those who are born again believe in absolute truth. Moreover, only 6 percent of Christian teens believe in absolute truth.

Truth … virtue … has become as relative within the Church it seems as it is in the world.

Progressively liberal views have crept into our homes, our hearts, because we have allowed them to creep into our ears and our eyes.

What once was disavowed as deleterious is now accepted as artistic expression or as personal freedom or perhaps just conceded as the norm because “that’s just the way it is.”

But, there are significant consequences to our compromising on these points. The way we conjure God’s name in our hearts and minds is evidence of our regard or lack of regard for Him. Our tolerance of others’ use of His name in vain negatively shapes how we think about Him.

It is important that we each remind ourselves that the Ten Commandments do not lead off with “Thou shalt not kill, or commit adultery or steal.” Rather, we are informed about what should be the nature of our relationship with God. He is to be honored, respected and revered.

So many of the hedonistic abuses that now overwhelm our culture, are the symptoms of a serious spiritual sickness, the lack of veneration for our Creator.

Let’s not accept or participate in things that grieve the Holy Spirit. Let’s not endanger our spiritual health, by compromising on spiritual principles and corrupting our relationship with the Father — not for entertainment or any other reason.

Even in our entertainment, we should seek to honor God.

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory” 1 Corinthians 10: 31 (HCSB)
Phil Boatwright is the editor and film reviewer for The Movie Reporter. For more information concerning his ministry, go to www.moviereporter.com.

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  • Phil Boatwright