How Christians Can Win the Entertainment Culture War
By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher
Note: This article is excerpted from Dr. Baehr’s book, “The Culture-Wise Family.”
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!”
– 1 Corinthians 6:15 (NIV)
“In every human heart is a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill.”
Facts: American adults age 18+ spend 12 hours and one minute each day consuming major media, according to statistics from eMarketeer, 10/09/17. That’s equivalent to 721 minutes per day, or 4,386 hours per year.ii
No other gods
Trendy dilettantes have the gall to say that movies and the other mass media product are art, so anything in the name of art is acceptable. Art, they say, is truth, and so all art is worthy of some audience.
The entertainment industry is a more than $100 billion a year business that appeals to people’s visceral emotions to separate them from their hard earned dollars. Much of that money comes from media product with a heavy dose of perverse sex and violence, what some in the entertainment industry call “horny boy” movies because they are targeted at the hormones of teenage boys who drag their dates along so they can be desensitized to promiscuous sex.
All of the entertainment media employ some artistic elements and some communicative elements, but these are employed only to enhance the money making value of the product.
Art per se is not truth. It is a product of man’s creativity or, as Aristotle said, “Art is contrary to nature.” Art is sometimes truthful, sometimes lies and often does neither.
Not only should we avoid setting art apart as some holy object to be venerated, but we must stop setting the entertainment industry apart from God’s Law as if it were beyond good and evil. Ignoring God’s Law in the name of art, speech or entertainment is the heresy of antinomianism (anti-law), which is abhorrent to God. Those who condone such lawlessness in the name of art are condoning society’s moral decay.
Making art and entertainment our gods is undermining our society. Christians must resist the temptations of the world – the flesh and the devil – and stand up for what they believe. United we can influence the media leaders by impacting the box office and the cash register.
Besides our misplaced veneration of entertainment, another reason the entertainment media are getting away with murder and there is so little evangelism and so much ignorance about the biblical worldview is the rampant growth of Christophobia in our society. Christophobia is a term I coined many years ago to refer to those who have an irrational fear of and hostility toward Jesus Christ and anything Christian.
The symptoms are quite simple and insidious. Some of these aberrant symptoms include:
An unhealthy fear of using the name of Jesus as anything but a profanity in public.
A dread of discussing biblical principles in public.
A horror that someone would expose or discuss his or her Christianity in public.
An aversion to using biblical standards to make decisions and to determine right and wrong in any given situation.
A perverse fear of the Bible.
There are many more symptoms of this dysfunctional condition, and many other situations where Christophobia rears its ugly head in our schools, media and government. For example:
Christmas is now called Winter Holidays.
Easter vacation is avoided by school systems, even if it means skewing school calendars to create unbalanced terms.
Newspapers and television networks ask Christians to edit out any biblical references.
Many courts refuse to consider the biblical point-of-view.
This destructive phobia has spread throughout our culture to the extent that Christians are often the most Christophobic members of our society. These Christophobic Christians:
Get livid when you bring up a biblical perspective;
Apologize when the Name of Jesus is used in reverence;
Complain when Christians stand together; and,
Worry some Christians may be wearing their Christianity on their sleeves.
Often these Christophobic Christians fret about using biblical standards to determine right and wrong. They are horrified that these standards might be applied to common “problems” such as murder, adultery, lying, sodomy, and the other evils condemned by the Word of God.
If this phobia continues at its current pace, it will become the most debilitating psychological aberration of our age. Christophobia causes many to hide their Christianity, others to deny it and still others to lash out at Christians. In recent years, it’s inaugurated a widespread persecution of Christians and a denial of the Christian roots of Western Civilization and American society. History is now being revised to blame Christians and Christianity for all the world’s problems, and the immorality condemned by the Bible is being acclaimed as the solution to our problems.
This abnormal psychological condition must be routed out of our national psyche before it’s too late. Christians must help others understand the dysfunctional aspects of this disease. They must deliver those who suffer from it by introducing them to Jesus Christ and instructing them in the wholesome benefits of the biblical worldview.
Another fallacy keeping us in bondage is the phony cries of censorship every time someone speaks out against degrading entertainment.
Censorship is prior restraint by the government, which is not the same as a united effort to make obscenity and immorality unprofitable.
Christians often fall for the cry of censorship and think the liberal press is uniformly opposed to censorship. The mass media are all too often only opposed to biblical morality. They promote their own ethical standards by supporting an agenda to “censor” Christian speech while promoting immoral speech.
God calls us to be discerning and wise, not to be dupes of semantic warfare.
Cast your vote
Patron sovereignty has traditionally been commended by Hollywood Entertainment Industry as the right of patrons to determine what they want to see or avoid. In our free society, we can again exercise our freedom to influence the entertainment industry to produce moral, uplifting entertainment. Despite preferences that favor sex, violence and anti-Christian messages, the producers in the Entertainment Industry are ultimately concerned about the bottom line – how much money they can make. If Christians support the good and avoid the immoral, our impact will be quickly felt in the Entertainment Industry.
The adversary often convinces us that we are powerless – that there’s not much we can do except complain, escape or avoid. The truth is that we have great power. We can change the nature of the entertainment media.
God is the most powerful force in the world today
Too many moral Americans believe we are facing overwhelming odds and unassailable power. Some believe that the mass media of entertainment is the most powerful force in the world today.
Not even close. Television, nuclear power, communism, capitalism, the United States, sin, Satan, man, and all other powers combined pale in importance and potency to shadowy insignificance when compared to the power of God: “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3)
Not only is God the most powerful force in the universe, but also Jesus is the Answer. He alone can deliver us from sin and death. Only the Sword of His Spirit, His Word written, can give us victory over the evil influences of this age.
Jesus was the master of communications. His dramatic parable word pictures are as pertinent today as they were 2000 years ago. He understood the power of communications and how ideas shape civilizations. His Word toppled one of the most powerful civilizations in history, the Roman Empire, and continues to transform the world today.
We are His body
The Good News is that God tells us, “Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1 Corinthians 12:27) He affirms that, thanks to Jesus Christ’s victory on the cross, “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) (NIV)
Therefore, we can confidently respond to His instructions by standing in the whole armor of God against the wiles of the adversary, including immoral media. We not only have every right to unite to oppose evil communications, but we are called to do so and have the power rebuke such evil in the love of Christ because we care about our children and our neighbors.
Therefore, we must care enough for Him and for our neighbor to communicate His Gospel with power throughout the world and to take every thought captive for Him. We must learn the principles of powerful communication so that we can communicate the Gospel through the mass media to reach every man, woman and child with His Truth.
Furthermore, we must redeem the mass media so that the good, the true and the beautiful – not vain imaginations – are proclaimed through the mass media of entertainment throughout the world.
In obedience to His Word written, Christians need to reclaim the media for Christ by advancing on several fronts:
We need to raise the consciousness of Christians to impact the industry.
We need to lobby the entertainment industry so they can be inclusive, not exclusive, of the Christian audience.
We need to witness to and disciple those in the mass media, as well as viewers, especially children.
We need to produce quality programming and motion pictures.