Do Books and Movies Reveal Our Weaknesses?

1 Corinthians 5:9-13
9. I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
10. Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
11. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
12. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
13. But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Matthew 4:8-10
8. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9. And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Recently I responded to an article claiming The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins, promoted Satanic rituals. Find it here.

The Hunger Games are required reading in some public schools, and a movie based on the first book is coming out in the spring. I don’t know whether the books deserve that much notariety, but it apparently upsets some people.

I’m a born again Christian, middle aged and the father of two grown children who we home schooled. I’m not upset by allegations made about The Hunger Games, and I’ll tell you why.

I’ve read The Hunger Games books for my private enjoyment because I’m a science fiction fan. I did not read them with a critical eye for Satanic rituals or symbols. If they were there, I obviously missed them, and I don’t believe they adversely affected me.

Without intending to sound unduly dismissive, let’s remember that The Hunger Games are stories for entertainment. They’re not real. They’re the product of an author’s imagination. As such, how seriously should we take them?

Reportedly, The Hunger Games has given some children nightmares. I don’t see how any of these books would cause anyone to have bad dreams. I never had nightmares after watching movies or reading books as a kid. Am I just made of sturdier stuff?

Back in the late 1980’s when the movie “The Last Temptation of Christ” came out, I was working for a Christian radio station. I got sick and tired of hearing the late Marlin Maddoux on “Point of View” campaigning against the movie. Granted it was trash, and I had no intention of seeing it or encouraging others to see it. So why give the movie the extra publicity?

But what else can we expect from an unbelieving, Christ hating world? What are we afraid of? Do we think we’ll somehow lose God’s favor because we bump against filth in our everyday world? Are we too weak to lean on the Spirit and resist trash and temptation?

How many times have we heard news stories or studies claiming young people are more violent today because of TV or video games? Perhaps it’s true. But why?

What is it that would make kids violent? Are they that easily influenced? Could the tendency toward violence have been there to begin with? In other words, can we really blame it on external sources?

As Paul warns in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, the problem is not the evil without, but rather the evil within the Church, which needs to be judged.

Let me bring this back around to thoughts on The Hunger Games.

I’ve noticed a trend toward dystopia or the backdrop of a post apocalyptic world in a number of other science fiction books in recent years aimed at children and teenagers. But they’re not without hope.

The main characters learn to become resourceful against tremendous odds. If anything, these stories are unrealistic because things usually turn out better than one would reasonably expect. Is that not deceptive and therefore the real danger from such reading?

Like most young people, I came out of school with a sheltered and naive perspective about the world and the powers that rule in it. Ssuch series as The Hunger Games plant the idea in children’s minds that the world is not all sunshine and roses. Isn’t this beneficial? Do we not live in a brutal world? At what point do we introduce our children to that reality?

You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you want to read these books or let your children read them. But if The Hunger Games series is full of Satanic rituals and symbols, why should we be surprised?

Keep this in mind regarding books, movies, and the world in which we live. In Matthew 4:8-10, where Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, notice He did not deny that the devil could give him the kingdoms of the world and all their glory. This does not mean God is not sovereign. He’s simply allowing Satan to have tremendous power for now.

In this present world we would do well to heed Jesus’ words in verse 10. “for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Whatever the world dishes out, our reward is in living righteously and waiting on the Lord to set up His own kingdom one day, in His time, and in His way.

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