How should a Christian discern media?

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How should a Christian discern media?

Postby Sundown » Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:08 am

This question has been on my mind for over a month, and I've had yet to find a clear answer.

Some Christians say it's okay to watch media with violence and / or magic as long as there are Christian morals to counter it - their argument is that the Bible also contains such content, though not in a positive light. Others say to avoid such things altogether. Where do you draw the line?

Recently, I've been feeling guilt while watching / reading my favorite franchises. (Harry Potter, Pokemon, Fire Emblem, Trigun, and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, for example - all of which have violence and / or magic in them.) I haven't felt a draw to the occult or violence, just... guilt. Like I shouldn't be watching because it isn't 'Christian' entertainment. Not sure if this is God hinting something or if its my own paranoia.

I'd love to hear thoughts on the subject.
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Re: How should a Christian discern media?

Postby TheChocolateGamer » Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:47 am

If you glorify God with it, it doesn't really matter.
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Re: How should a Christian discern media?

Postby SincerelyAnomymous » Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:19 pm

As long as it doesn't feature heroic characters using the powers of darkness and the devil being portrayed as a "hero". If there is a definite line drawn between light and darkness, good and evil and such, then I see no problem. If it's just magic like the ability to use elemental powers, super-speed or other mystic powers as seen in the like of Lord of the Rings, it's not such a huge deal. If I may be correct, Harry Potter uses actual spells from witchcraft that people can learn, at least from what I've heard.

Also, there's not many Christian cartoon/anime/TV shows, let alone those that are actually good. So I imagine at least, that God would want you to have fun. If anything, it's most likely the devil trying to make you overly religious. A lot of Christians become this way, not realizing Christianity is not a list of dos and donts, but rather a relationship.
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Re: How should a Christian discern media?

Postby LecktheTech » Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:40 pm

In some ways, anime/tv/movies are just another form of entertainment. Not really much different from other hobbies. However, some hobbies have more tangible results.
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Re: How should a Christian discern media?

Postby ClosetOtaku » Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:14 pm

"All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify." If your conscience is bothered by something, put it aside and focus on something else. You may find you will come back to it later with a different attitude, but for now, do not allow it to become a stumbling block for you. At the same time, do not insist it is wrong for others -- that is for their conscience to determine.

I hesitate to try to make an endless series of rules to test whether an image or story or movie is problematic -- it is a waste of intellectual energy. If it bothers my conscience, I will put it aside. I do not have to invent reasons to justify this to anyone else, including myself.
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Re: How should a Christian discern media?

Postby Sheenar » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:53 pm

A little backstory on me --I didn't grow up in a Christian home, but became a believer at age 13 and started attending church. The church I attended for youth group put a lot of emphasis on "don't do this" and a list of rules. I wound up throwing out all of my secular music, for example, because I was led to believe that if I was "really serious" about being a believer, I would only listen to music labelled as Christian. I agonized over seeing the movie Shrek when it came out in theaters because it contained magic and I was led to believe that all representations of magic in media were bad --even in a movie parodying fairy tales. I, of course, didn't read Harry Potter cause that was just seriously frowned upon and we were told we were opening the door for demons if we read it. XP

It took a long time to escape from that mindset drilled into me when I was a new believer and trying to figure out what following Christ meant. The set of rules never did me any good --it just put weights on me and led me to believe I had to somehow earn/keep God's favor by following them and included fear that God wouldn't love me anymore if I messed up. It is a debilitating mindset and thing to be under. Be careful not to fall too far in the direction of legalism (at the same time, do use discretion and if something sends up a red flag, that's probably something to pay attention to).

I agree with ClosetOtaku in not setting a list of rules and dos/don'ts. If you feel that something would be a sin or a stumbling block for you personally to watch, don't watch it. Don't put yourself in that position. But what may be a stumbling block for you wouldn't necessarily be one for someone else.

There is a lot of good artistry out there in secular media. We can, as believers, appreciate it and enjoy it --as long as it doesn't blaspheme God or, of course, consist of explicit content. Overall, allow the Spirit to guide you --if something doesn't feel right, don't watch/listen to that thing and watch/listen to something else.

(And, yes, I did finally read all of the Harry Potter books in college and loved them. :) )
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