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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Books and Movies Survey: Wrap-Up

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(If you missed the first two parts of the Survey, I know you’ll want to read them. You can scroll down after reading this one.)

Here are some more participants’ quotes. Enjoy!

“I think parents ought to be involved in what their children are reading and watching, without censoring it directly. Parents should talk about the attitudes and philosophies that are presented, of course, and compare that with what the Bible teaches. It teaches them to be discerning on their own, instead of just reading whatever the parent wants them to read. He should recommend a few good books from time to time, and talk about those, too, just to make sure they’re getting some good stuff.”
“With both books and movies, what we allow our eyes to see, ears to hear, and minds to think about greatly influences how we think, feel, and act.  Since we are instructed to be careful about what our minds think about, we need to be cautious about what we ‘feed’ them.”
“I do believe books and movies influence our thoughts and viewpoints. I think that is why society is what it is today. I believe that thinking that we are not influenced by media is one of the biggest lies that we Christians believe, especially girls.  I think too many young girls dream of the fairy tale ending and prince charming and when our lives don’t end like they do in the movies, we think that we made a mistake and that there is someone out there that will make us happy. I think this mentality contributes to the rising divorce rate in our culture.“  

“In my opinion it is important to have well-defined and consistent standards for all forms of entertainment. All media has a variety of genres and purposes, and I believe we should make wise choices based on principle, not ratings or categories. There can be damaging G movies, and there can be edifying fiction.”


What can we take away from the Survey results? There were many positives, in my opinion. Let me list a few of them:

  • Overwhelmingly, the participants read a variety of books.
  • They generally do not limit themselves to only Christian reading. I find this positive, because we are in the world—though not of it. (1 John 2:16) There’s a lot of great literature and information out there that’s written by secular authors.
  • The participants read fiction.
  • They value classical literature.
  • The respondents are careful about a book’s content—morality, language, etc.
  • They are careful about what their children read.
  • Every single participant believes reading influences thoughts and viewpoints.

  • Participants judge each individual movie for its content.
  • Quite a few consult a website before family viewing.
  • People are careful about recommendations from friends. They will trust friends with similar tastes and values.
  • Parents are sensitive to all their children’s viewing needs and are careful with differing ages and maturity levels. They are especially careful about violence and thematic elements.
  • Every single participant said they believe movies influence thoughts and viewpoints.


Biblical Guidelines for Books and Movies

The Apostle Paul was well-schooled in the classics of his day. He quoted the philosophers Menander, Epimenides, and Seneca, as well as the poet Aratus.*

Even though the Bible was written about two to three-and-a-half thousand years before movies, several biblical principles apply to our entertainment choices:
  • I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? (Job 31:1)
  • I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me (Psalm 101:3).
  • Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
  • 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).
  • For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:16).

You can judge what you read and the movies you watch by asking yourself: if Jesus were to choose a book to read, would He choose this one? If Jesus were sitting right beside me on the sofa, would He be fine with the movie I plan to view?

I understand that “what would Jesus do” is a hypothetical, and that we can’t really know His mind about Disney, Gomer Pyle, or John Wayne. But, we can analyze content and language and make wise decisions.

And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good,
and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2).


A huge thank you to everyone that participated in my Books and Movies Survey. May God bless you!

(If you missed them, you can scroll down to read the first two posts of this series.)


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