Does What We Watch Really Affect Our Souls?

Photo by Marvin Meyer via Unsplash

Does What We Watch Really Affect Our Souls?

By Movieguide® Staff

With so much negative content infiltrating young minds, parents are growing rapidly concerned about what their children consume. While platforms like TikTok funnel users to antibiblical content, some Christian ministries are offering resources to reach the teens where they are.

According to Sean Dunn, the president of the Christian organization Groundwire, young people are turning to Christ. 

“We’re not going after the atheists,” Dunn told Faithwire. “The media would want us to believe that everybody’s an atheist, but, truthfully, 71% of Millennials [and] Gen Z believe that God’s a real being.”

Despite the statistics, Groundwire wants to increase the number of genuine believers who have a personal relationship–not just believe that God exists. 

Dunn notes that the most effective way to reach people is by entering into their world. For many in the culture today, that means meeting them in the world of entertainment.

“What we’re really good at doing is interrupting them on their entertainment — on their small screen — and bringing to light their need, their purpose,” Dunn said. “We don’t need to convince them that [God’s] real. We need to remind them that he’s relevant and he becomes relevant when he intersects [at] that point of need in their life.”

“We can’t get them to go to church, but we can’t get them to put down their phones,” Dunn added. “So, what we do is we use Hollywood-produced content.”

Groundwire reported over 116,000 professions of faith in 2020 and 192,000 in 2021.

“[We’re] humbled because you recognize this isn’t happening because of us. It’s happening in spite of us,” Dunn said. “Our job is to stay focused on Him and to follow and say, ‘God, I need you to give us wisdom every step, every day, whether we’re creating new content, whether we’re figuring out how to market … we need Your wisdom.'”

As entertainment and media inundate users across the globe with different ideologies, moral and immoral content, and various and contradicting worldviews, it is vital to practice media wisdom through a biblical lens. 

But the responsibility for teaching and practicing media wisdom falls on every Christian, not just younger generations, and not just parents who want to protect their children “train up a child in the way he should go.” (Proverbs 22:6).  

In the battle for people’s souls, media has become one of the most important battlegrounds. 

One example of these battlegrounds is the streaming giant Netflix. Netflix currently sits at 214 million subscribers, with hundreds of movies and TV shows ready to be consumed with the touch of a button. 

However, as Movieguide® has previously reported, most streaming content on Netflix contains immorality and pagan and occult worldviews contrary to a biblical worldview—even the cartoons. 

Movieguide® reported

However, streamable cartoons filled with extreme sexual content, language, and violence are not hidden on Adult Swim after the children go to bed—they are available 24/7. 

Although streamers have released “safety” features to block users from accessing the graphic content, they are far from fool-proof.  

Netflix leads the way in promoting the animated atrocities that, on the outside, look similar to your child’s favorite shows.

The line of what is permissible among families and what is not is increasingly blurred by mainstream TV shows and movies.  

One recent example is the Netflix series SQUID GAME. The ultra-violent show quickly became the most-watched series on the streaming platform. 

Movieguide® previously reported

Netflix claims that around 111 million accounts have tuned in to watch SQUID GAME, calling it the “biggest-ever series at launch.”

While graphic, immoral content on the streaming platform Netflix is no surprise, SQUID GAME’s popularity in the mainstream media outlets means that many children have seen the show, sometimes watching the show with their parents, despite its TV-MA rating.

“The level of violence is horrifying — more than most shows,” David Anderson, Head of School and Community Programs at the Child Mind Institute, said in a statement. “It’s a murder fest with the premise that out of over 400 participants, there can only be one survivor.”

Christian author Kevin DeYoung addressed the popularity of SQUID GAME in a recent article where he warns Christian viewers of compromise when it comes to what we watch. 

“Some Christians will be quick to point out that the Bible is full of sex and violence. And indeed it is. But there is a world of difference between sin described honestly on a page, never with the intent to stimulate or amuse, and sin depicted on the screen with multi-million dollar budgets, real nudity, and realistic gore,” DeYoung writes. “Can we freely watch something like Squid Game and honestly give thanks to God (1 Corinthians 10:30)? Does anything with an MA rating on Netflix help us think about what is pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Phiippians 4:8)?”

He continues: “I dare say you could not find an orthodox Christian writer or pastor before the 20th century (or maybe prior to 1965) who would countenance a fraction of what we consider ‘moderate’ entertainment today. If they were too rigid at times, certainly we are far too relaxed—to the impoverishment of our churches and of our souls.”