CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT
By Stacy Mouat
To start, not all fiction is evil. God blessed us with wonderful imaginations to build and create. An example would be The Chronicles of Narnia, which consequently was written by a Christian author, or Lord of the Rings, both wonderful works of fiction that Christians and non-Christians alike have enjoyed since the series publications. A more recent example might be the Marvel super hero movies. That being said, when you delve into secular fiction you have to be aware of the messages that are being pushed at you. Many of the modern comic storylines both accept and glorify sin, from adultery to murder. These are clearly not acceptable or in line with Scriptural teachings (Exodus 20:3-17). We as Christians need to be very careful with what we allow into ourselves. "Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?" (James 3:11). While we may live in this world, we are not of it: "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you" (John 15:19). In addition, there has been a great push toward the occult with Ouija boards, demonic possession, and satanic rituals portrayed in movies (Deuteronomy 18:9-12). We shouldn't entertain these films and stories because they glorify our enemy, Satan. Again, it goes back to what are you feeding your heart. If you feed your heart garbage, you'll reap garbage in return, but if you feed yourself with the Word, you will reap a growth in your relationship with Christ, which brings a fullness of spirit (Galatians 6:7-9). Romans 12:2 says, "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
It can even be beneficial to learn about fictional mythological gods, which are actually a part of cultural history, particularly in the areas of ancient Greek, Roman, and Norse. To fully understand these cultures one needs an understanding of their religious beliefs — how they saw the world. Studying about mythology, which is a compilation of myths from the ancient cultures, helps a person understand the starting point of many cultures/religions as well as the Bible itself as many of these religious beliefs influenced the early Israelites and were later combated by the apostles as they established churches in pagan cultures. It is important to keep in mind that a myth is very similar to a fairy tale; it's a traditional story, usually concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events. Man was created with this burning desire to know where he came from, to find his Creator. He has looked at life around him, down into the earth and up at the stars and wondered how this all came to be. Man however is easily confused and misled, and has conjured up gods and idols and called the creation creator for hundreds of years. They created stories to explain their surroundings (Romans 1:18-25). These stories, though false, are an important aspect to understand when trying to learn about these cultures. The important distinguisher as Christians is that we know that these gods are not real, they do not live and breathe as our God does, they were born purely out of a desire to explain the world around them (Deuteronomy 4:28). Often there are witches and other evil powers in these stories and tales, usually portrayed for the evil that they are. With mythology the hero usually seeks to destroy the evil. Even in tales of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, they fought against witches, warlocks, and a variety of other demonic ideals. However, when the story moves to the central theme of worshiping the created, that is a problem, for God alone is to be worshiped (Luke 4:8).
In the modern era there has been this gigantic push/swing towards the romanticizing of the occult. It has become "cool" or "hip" to partake in these things, even as small children participate in practices that seem harmless, yet are actually very dangerous from a spiritual perspective. The world laughs and meddles with that which it does not understand (1 Corinthians 2:14). They don't realize the great evil of which they are toying with, for if they did they would not meddle with it (Ephesians 6:12-18; 1 Peter 5:8). We as Christians know these things to be evil, so we should not partake in them, choosing instead to fill ourselves with righteousness. As with comics and modern film, we need to be careful what we fill our minds with. "I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them" (Romans 16:17). The things we allow into us will either cause us to grow or stumble, that is why it is good to evaluate everything we expose ourselves to.
The point at which fiction becomes demonic is the point at which evil is no longer sought out to be destroyed, but sought out to be celebrated. This line, as with most in life, is not black and white. The Devil is cunning and a master of disguise, this is why we need to be alert, "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). "For Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14).
It's important to be rooted in biblical truth whenever we watch or read fiction. If God does not condemn your heart over particular matters, then you can stand confident before Him (1 John 3:21). The converse is also true — if you feel conviction, yet participate in a particular activity, then you are in sin (James 4:17). It is a good practice to evaluate activities according to the eight-point worthy test of Philippians 4:8: is it true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy? These are the things we are called to think upon.
In summary, fiction in and of itself is not a bad thing, but as a believer we have the Holy Spirit to give us discernment as to whether there are good moral lessons and spiritual allegory we can draw from it (John 14:26). Things that overtly dabble in the occult and glorify the enemy and his powers would obviously not be fruitful reading for a believer, or anyone for that matter.
Image Credit: Marcin Wichary; untitled; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life
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